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fur S JfeatiKr 

' Hi 




Printers aud Publishers ~ 
33, Victoria Road, Tientsin, North China' 


Arthur de Carle Sowerfey,: h.Pv.G.S. 

Author of " Sport and Science on the Sino-Mongolian Frontier " 
and joint author with Robert Sterling Clark of 
"Through Shen-Kan." 

With 30 line drawings by the author and 43 photographs. 

' There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, 
There is a rapture on the lonely shore, 
There is society, where none intrudes, 
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar. 
I love not Man the less, but Nature more, 
From these our interviews, in which I steal 
From all I may be, or have been before, 
To mingle with the Universe, and feel 
What I can ne'er express, yet can not all conceal." 



THE TIENTSIN PRESS, LIMITED, Victoria Road, Tientsin, North China. 


To my wife. 


All rights reserved* 


WHEN the papers, which go to make up this book, were first con- 
templated, it was proposed that they should deal purely with sport. 
It was felt, however, that there was a very distinct need for some 
popular work not merely on game birds and animals, but on the whole, 
or as much as possible, of the North China fauna. Consequently, it was 
decided to endeavour to meet, if only in a small measure, this need. 

The resulting papers, penned sometimes in town, sometimes even 
on the road, but always with a sad lack of reference works, can not 
claim to do justice to the great subject. It is hoped, however, that 
they will serve their purpose until some more detailed and classic 
work is produced. 

One of the chief aims I have had in mind while writing thus on 
the birds and animals of North China, has been the rousing of public 
interest in the subject, with a view to the ultimate protection and 
preservation of many species, which under existing conditions are 
doomed to extinction. Another object has been to share with those 
who can not get away into the wilds to see for themselves and to taste 
first hand of Nature's rich store, some of my own experiences with 
that sweet Mistress and her many children. 

It has proved an untold pleasure to me to write these papers, for 
my mind has been carried back to many a happy day, in field and 
forest, amid surroundings never so appreciated as in the perspective of 
time. It has also been a source of education for I have come across new 
facts, and have been introduced to many species hitherto unknown 
to me, as I have delved into the riches of by-gone writers in search 
>f the correct names for those that I did know. 

The mere facfc of rny having written these papers has put ma 
into communication with fellow lovers of nature, and has given me 
access to standard works, so that I have been able to correctly identify 
most of the species mentioned. I am deeply indebted to Mr. J. D. 
de La Touche, C.M.Z.S., M.B.O.U., who very kindly allowed me to 
go over his wonderful collection of Chinese Birds, than which none 
more complete exist, except that in the British Museum. I am also 
indebted .to Mr. Oldfield Thomas, F.E.S., F.Z.S., of the British 
Museum, and to Dr. Gerrit S. Miller, of the Smithsonian Institution, 
for assistance in the identification of many new mammals of North 
China, while Dr. Morrison, by allowing me access to his magnificent 
library, enabled me to further identify and verify the names of many 
of the old ones. The following gentlemen very kindly supplied me 
with photographs, without which the illustrations would have been 
far from complete Dr. P. H. At wood; Mr. Malcolm P. Anderson, 
Captain T. Holcomb and Mr. W. A. Mace. To all these kind friends 
I wish to convey my heartiest thanks. 


Tientsin, North China, July, 1914. 



The Musk Deerr (Mopchus stibiricus) 11 

The Sika (Cervus hortulorum) ...... 13 

Wild Sheep 16 

The Muskshrew (Cwcidura coreae) 57 

The Mole (Scaptochirus gilliesi) 58 

The Ordos Jerbot (Dipus sowerbyi) 66 

The Woodmouse (Apodemus speciosus) ..... 71 

The Molerat (MyospaJax fontanieri) 73 

The Flying Squirrel (Sciuropterus buechneri) .... 75 

The Chipmunk (Eutamias asiaticus senexcens) ... 77 

The Suslik (Citellus mongolicuti) 79 

The Pika (Ochotona bedfordi) 80 

The Bustard (Otis dybowskii) . . . . 109 

The Butcher Bird (Lanius superoiliosus) .... 187 

The Avocet (Recurvirofttra, avocetta) .... . 148 

The Hcw>poe (Upupa epops) . . . .... 154 

The Pmtailed Sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus) . . . 157 

The Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) ..... 158 

Head of Poisonous Snake (Viper) . . . . . 163 

Head of Non-Poisonous Snake (Watersnake) . . . ,, 

The Terrapin (Clemmys japomica) ...... 166 

liadde's Toad (Bufo raddei) 171 

The Serpent-Head (Ophiooephalus argus) .... 172 

The Chinese Perch (Siniperca chua-tsi) . . . . ,, 

The Wels (SiluTUS asotis) 175 

Elopicthys dauricujs 176 

The Bream ; . . . 177 

The Bleak ....,, 

The Culter ........,,, 

The Loach (Cobitis tinia) ....... 178 

Satfanx chinensis, a small transparent smelt-like fish occuring 

in the Chihli Estuaries . , . ... * . . ^, 



Frontispiece. At Work in the Country. 

PLATE Facing 

I Dr. P, H. Atwood and bag .... 2 

II After Pig, Camp in the mountains of West Shansi 6 

E. H. Cartwright and the Author with record 

wild boar (333 Ibs. (Bus moupinensis) ,, 

III A morning and evening's bag in Shensi . 8 

IV The author and the late Mr. G. A. Grant with 

bag of roe, hare and pheasants in Shensi . 14 
North Shensi Boeder (Capreolus bedfordi) . , v 
V The Wild Sheep of North Shansi (Ovis jubata) , 18 
The author with his best Bam . . . ,, 
VI The North Shansi Wapiti. Captain T. Hoi- 
comb and his twelve-pointer ... 26 
VII The North Shansi Wapiti. Captain T. Hoi- 
comb and, a six-pointer .... 30 
North China Goral (Urotragus caudatus) . . ,, 
VIII Mongol Hunter and; Goral shot by Captain T. 

Holcomb in North Shansi .... 34 

IX The Mongolian Gazelle (GazeWa gutturosa) . 40 
The author and his first buck. 

F. W. Warrington and his best antelope . ,, 
X The Manchurian Tiger (Felis tigris longipilis) . 46 

XI The Leopard (Felis pardus villosa) ... 48 

XM The Fox (Vulpes vulpes) .... 50 

XIII The Kansu Polecat (Mustela larvata) . . 54 

North Sharisi Hares (Lepus swinhoei sowerbyae) , t 

W.ATB Facing Page 

XIV Equipped for hunting harea on horseback . 60 
XV Eats and Mice 70 

XVI The Kansu Allactaga (Allactaga mongolica 

longior) 72 

The Buzzard (Buteo hemilasius) . . . ,, 

XVII The Golden 'Eagle (Aquila chrysaetus) . ~~T 86 

XVIII The Chinese Pheasant (Phasianus kiangsuensis) 90 

The Shansi Pheasant (Phasianus sp.) 
XIX F. W. Warrington and a Manchurian Eared- 
pheasant. Shot near Tai-yuan Fu, Shansi . 94 

XX The Bearded Partridge (Perdix 'daurica) . 98 
The Chukar (Caccabis chukar) 

XXI The Manchurian Eared-Pheasant (Cwssoptilon 

mantchuricum) ...... 102 

The Baikal or Spectacled Teal (Querquedula 

- .* formosa) 

/ ,, 

XXII The Bean Goose (Anser segetum) . . . H2 
The Bean Goose. A seven pounder 

XXIII Wild Ducks on the Si-an Fu Plain, Shensi . 118 

XXIV The Common Teal (Querquedula crecca) . 120 
XXV A Bag of Snipe 126 

XXVI The Coot, (Fulica atra) ....... 128 

The Common Snipe (Gallinago media) . 
XXVII The Ibis billed Curlew (Ibidorhynchus< strutherai) 144 

The Curlew (Numenius arguatus) 
XXVIII A pair of Green Water-snakes (Tropidonotua 

tigrinus 162 

The Chinese Mud-Turtle (Trionyx 'sinensis) 




I The .Wild Boar 1 

II Eoe, Musk and Sika 7 

III .Wild Sheep 15 

IV Wapiti Hunting 25 

V The Goral 33 

VI Antelope Shooting in Mongolia 39 

VII Fur-Bearing Mammals 45 

VIII Insectivorous Mammals 53 

IX The Hare 60 

X Rats and Mice . . . . . . . 65 

XI Squirrels, Marmots and Pikas 74 

XII The Golden Eagle 83 

XIII Pheasant Shooting 89 

XIV Partridges 97 

XV The Quail 102 

XVI The Bustard . . 105 

XVII Wild Geese Ill 

XVIII Wild Ducks . . 117 

XIX Snipe 123 

XX The Perching Birds 130 

XXI The Wading Birds of North China 144 

XXII. Miscellaneous Birds ...... 151 

XXIII The Reptiles of North China, Manchuria and Mongolia 161 

XXIV Frogs, Toads and some Fresh-Water Fish . . .168 
INDEX 180 



THE wild boar is undoubtedly the gamesti lof all wild creatures, and 
amongst those who have experienced it, pig sticking is admittedly 
the finest sport in existence. 

The habitat of the pig, not including the various tropical species, 
such as the wart-hog, the bush-pig and the peccary, extends from 
Spain to Kamschatka, and from Siberia to Ceylon. Naturally in all 


Page 49, line 22 for "early" read "nearly." 

Page 70, lines 29 and 36, Plate XV, Page 71 lines 9, 10, 12 and 15, for 
"Epymis" read "Epimys." 

Plate XVI for "Allactaga" read "Alactaga." 

Plate XXI for " manchuricunn" read "mantchuricum." 

Page 121, line 17 for "Cidemia" read "Oidemia." 

Plate XXVII for "arquatus" read "arguatus." 

Pages 175 and 189 for "asaotia" read "asotis." 

Page 175 "Elopiacthys" read "Elopicthys." 

Page 176, line 32 for "canaasius" read "carassius." 

incnes ill m^CKness. .Lire- ucrcrjr --j.iii/tijuj.^inc'j..tTO > vx. **. .. , 

the native who shot the animal stated that he took 200 catties of flesh 
from it. A very conservative estimate of the weight of this pig, based 
upon the above statement would bring its total weight up to 300 catties 
or 400 Ibs. 

Next to this record come the measurements of an old tusker shot 
by the author. In this specimen the left tusk measures 9| inches in 
length and 1-| inches in thickness. The weight of this pig was found 
to be about 330 Ibs. 
s ' 1 



I The Wild Boar . 

II Eoe, Musk and Sika . 

III Wild Sheep 

IV Wapiti Hunting 
V The Goral . 

in Mongolia 












XIX Snipe 

XX The Perching Birds . 

XXI The Wading Birds of North China. 

XXII. Miscellaneous Birds 


XXIII The Kepfciles of North China, Manchuria and Mongolia 161 

XXIV Frogs, Toads and some Fresh-Water Fish . . .168 
INDEX 180 



THE wild boar is undoubtedly the gamesti-iof all wild creatures, and 
amongst those who have experienced it, pig sticking is admittedly 
the finest sport in existence. 

The habitat of the pig, not including the various tropical species, 
such as the wart-hog, the bush-pig and the peccary, extends from 
Spain to Kamschatka, and from Siberia to Ceylon. Naturally in all 
this tremendous area numerous varieties occur, which have been made 
into distinct species by naturalists. Thus there is 8 us scrofa of 
Europe, 8. cristata of India, S. amurensis of the Amour, S. nigripes of 
Sungaria and 8. moupinensis of Thibet, all differing but slightly from 
one another, yet differing sufficiently to warrant separation according 
to the present day system of classification. 

In China Pere Heude has described a number of species from 
various parts, but, as the diagnoses were very unsatisfactory, it has 
been found impossible to decide exactly how many valid species really 

The North China pigs seem to have somewhat larger tusks than 
those of the Yang-tze, but do not attain so large a size as the latter. 

Hitherto the record tusk measurements for North China pigs are 
those of a specimen in the possession of Mr. K. T. McCoy. The best 
tusk of this magnificent boar measures 10 inches in length, and 1 
inches in thickness. The body measurements were not taken, but 
the native who shot th< animal stated that he took 200 catties of flesh 
from it. A very conservative estimate of the weight of this pig, based 
upon the above statement would bring its total weight up to 300 catties 
or 400 Ibs. 

Next to this record come the measurements of an old tusker shot 
by the author. In this specimen the left tusk measures 9 inches in 
length and 1| inches in thickness. The weight of this pig was found 
to be about 330 Ibs. 
a ' 1 


;. f :/;Ojfc3^y'*gbbd WgasuFements ar 8i inches in length and 1 inch 
in thickness, and 8 inches in length and 1 inch in thickness, being those 
of tusks of pigs shot by Mr. J. Holmeberg and Dr. P. H. Atwood 

Professor E. T. Nystrom, formerly of Tai-yuan Fu Imperial Uni- 
versity, records having shot a boar which measured 7 feet from the tip 
of the nose to the tip of the tail. 

.The record Indian tusks measurement is 14f inches; the record 
European one 13 inches. The largest, pigs are found in the Caucasis, 
where specimens weighing as much as 600 Ibs. have been recorded. 

The record height belongs to India, where a fine old tusker was 
killed, which measured 40 inches at the shoulder. 

In China, as elsewhere, the wild boar commits terrible depreda- 
tions upon the crops of the country folk. It is nothing to see a field 
of peas or potatoes comipletely devastated by a sounder of wild swine in 
some of the more mountainous regions. The natives have great trouble 
in guarding their crops, as the pigs soon learn not to fear the primitive 
guns in vogue in these remote districts. 

The wild pig is very prolific, old sows producing as many as fifteen 
young in a litter. The mother builds a nest of hazel stems, carefully 
laid over a deep hollow. Here she produces her brood, the young 
remaining in this shelter for some days after they are born. After 
leaving the nest they stay with the old sow for about six months, by 
which time they are half grown and thoroughly capable of caring for 

In winter the coat is long and very bristly, with a thick woolly 
under fur. In summer this is dropped, and in the autumn a new soft 
coat appears, which grows very rapidly into the bristly winter covering. 

In Shansi during the last few years the wild pig has been greatly 
on the increase. This winter (1913-14), however, an epidemic has 
spread through the country, killing off whole sounders at a time. The 
natives of the districts have, of course, taken full advantage of this 
bountiful supply of meat, and a good many pigs, which have died thus 
have found their way into the game markets of Tientsin. A similar 
epidemic occurred some years ago, absolutely depleting certain sections 
of country of their stocks of wild swine. These epidemics da more to 
keep down game than a good deal of shooting, but that is no excuse 
for the wholesale and indiscriminate slaughter that sometimes goes on. 

Of the habits of the pig there is very little to say. In North China 
they seem to prefer well forested areas, or at least districts where 
there is ample cover. They are particularly fond of woods and copses 

Plate L 
















n, < 


of scrub-oak. They also favour sunny slopes, well protected with 
pines arid spruce, where in winter they may lie up during the day. 
In summer they resort to watery ravine bottoms for their daily siestas. 
They feed at night, coming out of their layers late in the evening and 
usually returning before daylight. 

The wild boar is to be found only in the more mountainous parts 
where it can find plenty of cover. Such country exists in the 
north of Chili -li, north and west of Shansi and in many places over 
Shensi, right out through Kansu to the Thibetan border. As a rule 
wherever the wild pig exists at all it is very plentiful, but its noctur- 
nal habits make it difficult to meet. However, by gaining a know- 
ledge of the habits of the animal and the sort of cover that it prefers, 
it becomes possible to search it out during the day. 

By far the best thing to do after reaching the hunting ground is 
to explore the country side for pig wallows. These can not be mis- 
taken when found, being hollows, often six or seven feet long by 
three wide, the edges of which rise several inches and sometimes a 
foot above the surrounding ground. When the earth in these looks 
newly thrown up then the hunter can rest assured that the pig is not 
far off, and he should visit the place each day making as little noise 
as possible so as to get near to his quarry before it takes alarm. 
Otherwise the pig will hear him long before he is near and will slip 
quietly away to find shelter elsewhere. 

Once having sighted a pig it needs only accurate shooting, good 
legs and lungs, and an obstinacy equal to that of the animal itself to 
finally bring it down. 

That a pig, though severely wounded, will often lead the hunter 
on a long, tiring chase can be gathered from the following experience. 

Early in January of 1910 I was hunting in seme magnificent moun- 
tains about a hundred miles north-west of Tai-yuan Fu in Shansi, and 
bad been following the trail of a wounded tusker all one morning. This 
pig had been shot two days previously by a native hunter, and on the 
evening of the day before had run into my boy while he was setting 
traps in a small ravine. The boy being unarmed, the pig made good its 
escape into a dense forest. As I have already said we followed the 
tracks all the next morning, but finally lost them in a dry and stony 
ravine, nor could we pick them up again. Accompanied by a native 
hunter I was searching for the lost trail, when we ran acrossi a fresher 
but smaller track. This we followed and it lead us through a beauti- 
ful pine forest, over the top of a ridge and down into some dense 
thorn bushes on the other side. As we entered the latter there was a 


rustling of bushes ahead of us followed by a dead silence. Just 
as I was about to start down hill the hunter clutched my sleeve and 
pointed across the ravine, and there some 200 yards away was a fine 
pig hurrying up the bare hillside. I was somewhat out of breath with 
my recent climbing buti there was no time to be lost and I took aim 
and fired. The hunter declared that the pig was hit, but except for 
a slight, diminishing in his speed, I could see no sign to prove that 
my bullet had found its mark. Next moment the pig had reached 
the top of the ridge and disappeared. We rushed down the hillside 
regardless of thorns, and torn clothes, and climbed the opposite slope. 
On reaching the top two spots of blood on a rock told us that the pig 
was hit. 

Then began a long and arduous chase. Following the trail with 
difficulty we skirted round the head of one ravine, crossed a ridge at 
the top and descended into a wood where the pig was once more put 
up. With an angry grunt it broke away down hill, and again we saw 
it climbing the opposite slope. This time we could see a dull red 
patch on the flank. I tried some more shots and had the satisfaction 
of seeing the pig fall and lie kicking. We thought the chase was end- 
ed, but had reckoned without our quarry. The pig suddenly scram- 
bled to its feet once more and continued up hill till it again crossed 
the top and vanished. This ascent was worse than the last one and must 
have been some four or five hundred feet. At last we reached the top, 
but found that the trail of our pig had got mixed up with several 
other recent ones. I sent the hunter along one of the freshest and 
chose another myself which led along the side of a ridge. Presently 
there was a blotch of blood in one of the foot prints, and; I knew I' was 
on the right scent. I hurried along through the pines and larches, and 
presently became aware of my quarry standing amongst the trees some 
twenty yards above me. I could see the evil look in its wicked little 
eye, but, before it could make up its mind whether to charge or to seek 
safety in flight, I had sent a bullet through its neck, just behind the 
ear and it dropped. Even then it made desperate efforts to rise, so I 
was obliged to send a revolver bullet into its heart. On examination 
I found that the pig had been hit in the flank, had had the right leg 
shattered and had got a ball lodged in the right fore foot, but in spite 
of these wounds had led me a chase of some two miles over country 
of the roughest and most difficult nature. 

The following narrative is another example of fhe endurance of 
these animals. It was in the same country asj that which I have 
just mentioned. For some days there had been persistent reports of 
a large sounder of wild swine lead by an enormous white boar. 


Several people declared to me that they had seen the herd, and they 
one and all described the leader as being perfectly white and as 
large as a cow. I searched in vain for this sounder, till one day, 
after a long and fruitless hunt in some wild and heavily timbered 
mountains to the north, I was passing through a little- village on my 
way back to camp, where my wife awaited me with a nice supper of 
grilled venison. The natives told me that the sounder I had been 
seeking in the forests of the high mountains had just passed the village, 
and one young man offered to lead me in the direction the pigs had 
gone. All thought of supper vanished, and with renewed energy we 
set off over some low hills. After about half an hour's climb seven 
or eight pigs were sighted feeding in a field on the other side of a wooded 
ravine. None of these answered to the description of the big white 
leader, but as daylight -was rapidly failing I decided to try my luck 
with a long shot atone of the pigs we could see. Accordingly I made 
my men hide behind some bushes, while I advanced towards the 
sounder to get within range. I had not gone far when suddenly 
from behind a rock there emerged what appeared to me to be the 
largest pig I had ever seen. It looked perfectly white and seemed 
to my startled imagination to be more the size of an elephant than 
a cow. It advanced towards me with majestic tread sniffing the air 
for danger as it came, and behind it crowded several smaller pigs. 
I advanced more cautiously till suddenly the pig caught sight of me 
and halted. It was now or never, and, although the range was rather 
long for my Winchester, I tried a shot. My first bullet struck too 
high, causing the huge brute to jump round, where it stood undecided. 
The second shot hit it in the flank, causing it to tear away at a 
breakneck speed. I fired several shots at it as it ran, managing 
to hit it in the shoulder just before it disappeared over the top of the 
hill. Summoning all my remaining strength, I followed at the best 
speed I could command, and was rewarded on gaining the top of the 
hill by seeing my quarry not more than a hundred yards away, walk- 
ing along a path that lead round the top of a ravine. I was just able 
to take rapid aim and fire as it rounded a shoulder of rock. It did 
not reappear, and hurrying along, the path I was delighted to find that 
the last shot had proved fatal and the huge animal lay dead at the bot- 
tom of a small water course. Half an hour later it was pitch dark and we 
had our work cut out to get the day's bag home. It was not white 
but very light grey, -and its measurements exceeded those of any pig I 
have yet seen, being six feet three inches from the tip of the snout 
to the tip of the tail, and two feet eight inches at the should- 
der. It, weighed three hundred and ten pounds which was ten pounds 


lighter than an old tusker I killed the previous autumn near Yen-an Fu 
in Shensi. This latter animal gave me a good run requiring four bullets 
to finish it. 

It will be gathered from these two narratives that the mountainous 
nature of the country in which they live renders impossible any other 
method of hunting these pigs than by shooting them. The method 
employed in India and elsewhere of running down and spearing the 
wild boar would be quite out of the question in North China. 

Pig. hunting with the aid of the rifle is naturally a far less danger- 
ous sport than when the spear is used. Nevertheless one can have some 
exciting moments. 

On one occasion accompanied by two natives I succeeded in driv- 
ing some seven or eight pigs out of a dense pine wood at the top of 
a wide valley. The pigs ran down the side of the valley and took 
shelter in a clump of stunted oaks. Sending the natives up above 
them to drive them out I waited below. The men missed their 
bearings and came upon the pigs in such a manner as to cause the 
whole herd to break cover and come thundering like a troup of cavalry 
straight towards me. Fortunately, however, they swerved to right and 
left when within a few yards of me, and I managed to hit one as it 
rushed past. The wounded animal broke away from the rest of the 
sounder, and tried to cross the valley, so that I was able to knock it over 
as it was climbing the opposite slope. 

Winter is undoubtedly the season for pig hunting as the chase 
is altogether too arduous for the hot weather, while the foliage of the 
summer and autumn increases the difficulty of finding the quarry, and 
of keeping it in sight when put up. Few of the residents of North 
China can spare the time required to hunt the wild boar, as it often 
takes a week or more to locate the game after one has reached the 
hunting ground, but once having gleaned the necessary knowledge of 
the country one can enjoy good shooting. I once managed to get three 
pigs in four days, and on another occasion bagged a fine tusker and 
two roedeer in twelve hours. My companion on that occasion also shot 
two roedeer. 

Plate II, 


RECORD WILD BOAR (333 LBS.) (Sus moup'mensis). 



OF all forms of sport there are few that can excel t'ha/t of deer 
stalking. In none are the patience, quickness of eye and wits and 
the endurance of the hunter more severely tested. 

In North China there are several species of deer, but by far the 
commonest, and the only one easily accessible to Europeans resident 
in the Treaty Ports is the roe. This little deer is well beloved by 
local sportsmen, for it affords them their chance of indulging in a 
sport, which in most countries only the wealthy and leisured classes 
can enjoy. 

Not only is the roe a shy and timid creature but it is gifted with 
the most delicate organs of hearing and scent; while its sight is 
also remarkably keen. Its speed excels that of any other denizen 
of the mountains, and its protective colouring renders it very hard to 
detect. In winter the roedeer assumes a yellowish-grey pelt that 
harmonises and blends perfectly with the leafless bushes and withered 
grass; while in summer this coat is exchanged for one of a bright 
rufous colour, which in turn so exactly resembles the moistened patches 
of bare loess, that the hunter often fails to detect his quarry, though 
it be in full view. 

A point in favour of the hunter is the excessive curiosity of the 
roe, which makes it desirous of ascertaining the cause of any un- 
usual sound or sight, instead of seeking safety in flight. I have 
known, a whole herd stand and gaze at the hunter, apparently 
fascinated by the report of his rifle, and once when I was hidden 
in some bushes on the fringe of a forest clearing, several roedeer, 
that, I had startled by the rustling of the leaves and twigs, approached 
to within easy range of my rifle in their endeavour to find out the cause 
of the noise. 

Another advantage that the roe inadvertantly gives the hunter is 
by barking, but usually when a roe barks it means that the stalk has 
been discovered, and before long the deer will be well out of harm's 
way. Moreover it never betrays its presence thus except when it 
is under cover of some friendly wood. 

In North 1 Shansi, on the edge of the Mongolian Plateau and in 
Manchuria the native-hunters attract these deer by whistling with 


a piece of grass held between the thumbs. The ensuing note resembles 
very closely the shrill bleat of the young fawn in distress, hence its 
attraction. This seems a cowardly advantage to take of the poor 
creature, however. 

Various methods may be adopted in hunting the roedeer, the 
most sporting of which is plain stalking. In the mountainous and 
forested country that this animal frequents there are numerous grassy 
slopes between wood and wood, and it is these that the hunter should 
haunt in search of his quarry. In the morning and evening the roe 
leaves the shelter of the woodsi in search of food, and then it may 
often be seen in droves of five or six quietly grazing on the rich luxur- 
ious grass. It is then that the utmost resources of the hunter are 
called into play, for he has to creep with infinite caution towards his 
quarry, taking care to approach it up wind, and making the very 
best use of such' slight cover as the tall grass and few stunted bushes 
offer. With care it is even possible to approach feeding deer in the 
open, without any cover; but in this case the greatest vigilance must 
be kept upon their movements. The object, of the stalker is to 
appear to be a rock or stump or some such inanimate object. 
The deer must not see the slightest movement, so that advance can 
only be made while the animal has it's head down in the grass. Each 
time the deer's head goes up all movement must instantly cease till 
it goes down agiain. As a feeding deer raises its head to look round 
every few bites, the tediousness and fatigue of such a stalk can be 
imagined; but when, having approached to within range, fired and 
hit, the hunter looks down upon a nice pair of horns, he is amply 
rewarded, and looks upon those weary anxious minutes in the light of 
a great achievement. If by any chance during the stalk the quarry 
is startled and begins to make off, unless the range is too great, it is 
just as well to try a shot, as the report sometimes brings the fleeing) 
animal to a standstill; while a misdirected bullet will often turn a 
deer towards the hunter. If there is a herd and one buck is knocked 
over, iti is often possible to secure a second, as the rest frequently 
return to their wounded or dead companion. In this way I once 
secured two nice bucks from a small drove of three, after a successful 
stalk up the bare slope upon which they were feeding. The first buck, 
hit through' the chest, came rolling down the slope. The other two 
at first made off, but turned back and stared at the first. Even when 
they saw me they only entered the sheltering wood a little way, where 
they stood till I came upon them and accounted for the second buck. 

As an example of roedeer stalking the following narrative may 
prove interesting. 

Plate III. 


K, Q 


O ft 

K O 

O w 


A party of us were travelling through Shensi, and had reached 
a belt of wild country south of Yen-an Fu, where the once cultivated 
terraces had gone back to wilderness. Here roedeer and small game 
were extremely plentiful, while there were not wanting signs of wild 
boar, wolves and even panthers. Already the members of the party 
had had splendid sport, seven deer having been accounted for in two 
days. On the third day two of us were riding behind the caravan, 
which was winding along the top of a high ridge, when we saw a 
roedeer quietly feeding in a deep valley on our left. As we would 
soon be out of the wild country, and both wished to add another deer 
to our bag, we decided to go after this one. Accordingly we turned 
off the road, and tying our ponies in a thicket, we crept down a water 
cut, keeping well out of sight of our quarry. Jimmy, my pointer, in- 
sisted on following, and dutifully kept close at my heels. Without 
much difficulty we reached the shoulder of a ridge," which we had to 
cross. Now we had to exercise the utmost care, for the bare slope 
was in full view of the deer. Good luck was with us, for during our 
passage the deer did not raise its head once, and soon we dropped 
silently down into the fall brush 1 of the valley. It was all I could do 
with fiercely whispered injunctions to keep Jimmy from dashing off, 
for he, too, had spotted the deer. Each step brought us nearer to our 
quarry, which we glimpsed now and then through gaps in the under- 
brush. Twice we found ourselves up to our armpits in deep snow 
drifts. At last, after crossing a bare terrace flat upon our bellies, we 
arrived' at a low hedge which' I had noted as being within twenty yards 
of the deer, and I gave the sign to my companion to be ready. As 
we cleared the sheltering scrub up bounided the deer from almost 
under our feet. Bang ! bang ! went our rifles, and the buck sprang 
into the air, turned a somersault and lay dead. On the instant an- 
other buck broke cover, and again our rifles rang out. It staggered, 
but recovered itself and was crashing away through the bushes when 
Jimmy, unable to restrain himself another moment, sprang forward. 
With a few bounds he overtook the wounded deer and springing for 
its throat brought it down headlong in the snow. 

A method of hunting the roedeer, which has been tried with great 
success by one local sportsman in the forests of West Shansi, is that 
adopted in the P'hdllipines and elsewhere where the jungle or forests 
are too dense for open stalking. This is with the use of a flash lantern, 
fastened in the cap or on the right wrist, so that the beam of light is 
directed forward along the rifle barrel. This method can only be 
used at night, when any deer within two hundred yards, looking to- 
wards the light betrays its presence by the bright reflection from the 
3 2 


retinas of its eyes. The sights of the rifle are also lighted up so that 
it is easy to take accurate aim. The bright light always has the 
effect of arresting the quarry and rooting it to the spot, giving ample 
time to take aim. In this way six or seven roedeer were bagged in 
a few days. 

Another method, which may be adopted in country where, owing 
to deep snow, the going is bad and stalking impossible, is driving. In 
company with three other local sportsmen, I enjoyed some very good 
driving two years ago (Jan. 1912) in the Hsi-wan-tzu district east of 
Kalgan. The process was simple. A likely looking wood would be 
chosen, and each member of the party would be stationed at some 
advantageous point outside. The beaters would then go round and 
commence driving from the other side of the wood. Always a deer 
or two would break cover and give one or other of us a chance of 
bringing it down. 

Up to the present two distinct species of roedeer have been describ- 
ed from North China. The one found in Shansi, Shensi and Chihli 
has been called Capre\olus bedfordi, having been described from a 
specimen from West Shansi, as being slightly larger than the European 
form. It also has much better horns, which increase in length in 
the individuals as one works northward. The horns of the North 
Shansi roedeer approach more nearly to the Thian Shan roe (C. 
tianshanicus). One pair I measured were 17| inches in length', while 
I have measured several that have been close on 1 foot, some a little 
more, some less. The longest .West Shansi horn I have measured 
was 10 inches. The record Thian Shan roehorn is 18| inches. 

The other Chinese species is one discovered by the writer in 
Kansu. It was named C. melanotis, being described as more reddish 
than C. bedfordi in its summer coat, and having the outer surface of 
the ear mostly of a clear black colour, which is not the case in C. 

Thie largest species of roedeer is C. pygargus, which comes from 
Siberia. The largest horns come from the Thian Shan. 

Roedeer are common almost anywhere where there is a reason- 
able amount of cover, and a small human population. They are 
particularly plentiful in Shensi, North and West Shansi, and in some 
of the wild country north of Peking. In Manchuria also they are very 

The females often have two young. The males shed their horns 
from November to December. The new growth commences in Febru- 
ary, the velvet, is rubbed off by the end of May, the rutting season 
commencing in August. 


From September to November is the best time for roedeer hunting. 
The horns are then in good condition, and the hair is not so liable 
to drop as at other times. One can also enjoy the pleasure of hav- 
ing a nicely roasted haunch or grilled steak for dinner. Earlier in the 
summer, though the horns are good, the smell of the deer sets one 
against eating the flesh. The meat should always be allowed to hang 
for a few days, which of course is impossible in the warm weather. 

THE MUSKDEER (Moschus sibiricus). 


In many places, chiefly in 'heavily forested and mountainous coun- 
try, where the roe is found the musk deer is also prevalent. It is a 
pretty little creature, considerably smaller than the roe, has no horns, 
but is armed with long tusks, which grow down, like those of the wal- 
rus, from the upper jaw. These only occur in the male, which is 
also slightly larger than the female. The tusks attain a length of 
about 3 inches. At least four species of musk have been identified. 
Two of these occur in the Himalayas and Sze-chuan, so that they 
scarcely come under our heading. These are Moschus moschiferus 
and M. chrysogastcr respectively. In Kansu and Eastern Thibet a 
species called M. sifanicus occurs, while the Shansi and Chihli species 
is known as M. sibiricus. The last is a very dark variety, having a 
thick coat of a dark brown, with a fine cream-yellow irregular patch 
on the throat. M. sifanicus is distinctly greyer in appearance the 
brown hairs having a white ring towards tha tip. 


The musk stands about 20 inches at the shoulder. The hoof is 
proportionately much smaller and more pointed than in other deer, 
while the two hinder nails or dew claws are proportionately much larger. 
The ears are large; the tail short. The characteristic for which this 
little deer is chiefly known, is the occurrence in the male of a little bag 
in the skin of the abdomen, which contains the substance known as 
musk. For this the musk deer is unmercifully persecuted and hunted, 
for the substance is extremely valuable. A single pod, is worth from 
$10 to $20 to the hunter, who sells it. to the medicine shops, where 
it is made up into perfume and realizes twice the money paid to the 

Just exactly what function this gland performs in the economy 
of the musk deer seems uncertain. There is little or no smell in the 
secretion when fresh, so that it can hardly be for the purpose of attract- 
ing the females. 

As a sport musk deer hunting is scarcely to be considered. So 
persecuted is the little creature that it keeps to the densest cover, 
from which it may only be driven with the greatest difficulty. It is 
also becoming increasingly rare. The natives of this country hunt 
the musk chiefly by driving, the same method being used as with 
roedeer. When there is plenty of snow they also resort to tracking. 
The Szechuan hunters use snares. A stout sapling is bent down over 
a musk deer path, and a rope with a noose is attached to the tip. 
[Ph ; e noose is then set in the path in such a way that the little creature 
is almost sure to step into it. A trigger is loosed, the sapling flies 
up, and the deer is jerked into the air, where it hangs till 
the hunter comes and kills it. Often they hang thus for days before 
merciful death frees them from their agonies. By far the greater 
number of musk are taken this way. The method has the disadvan- 
tage of killing off males and females indiscriminately, whereas your 
true Shansi musk hunter would avoid shooting a doe. Some years 
ago I reached a famous musk district in West Shansi, and found 
the local hunters in a furious st^te of mind over the depredations of a 
party of Szechuan hunters, who in a few weeks had secured some 
seventy musk deer, mostly females, in their snares. Driven to ex- 
asperation the Sbansi hunters had at last combined and sent the 
Szechuanese about their business. 

The musk like the water-deer of the Yang-tze Valley can be knock - 
ed over easily with bird shot. The white ivory tusks of a good buck 
make the head a nice trophy. 




Another deer, which is to be found in certain restricted areas of 
Chihli and Shansi is the Pekin sika (Cervus hortulorum), sometimes 
known as the Pekin Stag. This is perhaps the handsomest deer in 
North China, especially in the summer, when its rich red coat spotted 
with white makes it a most elegant creature. It is a large deer, having 

THE SIKA (Cervus hortulorum}. 

very good horns, the record measurements of which are 2 feet 8 
inc'hes in length. Usually there are eight points, though a ten pointer 
has been recorded. 

In MancEuria a very closely allied, though smaller species occurs, 
under the name of C. manchuricus. Other species occur in Japan, 


Formosa and along the Yang-tze Valley. The horns of these deer 
conform to the elaphine type, but differ from those of the red deer 
and wapiti in having no bez-tine. 

The Pekin sika is of a dark grey-brown in the winter, the white 
spots becoming almost invisible. A full grown stag stands about 4 
feet at the shoulder. These deer are also greatly persecuted on account 
of their horns, which when in velvet are worth more than those of any 
other species. Manchurian sika horns have been known to fetch as 
much as Tls. 200 and Tls. 300 per pair. 

At present the Pekin sika is known to occur only in a few very 
remote and inaccessible districts in North-eastern Chihli and in 
Western Shansi. There used to be a good many in the Imperial 
Hunting grounds near Jehol, but since the Manchu soldiers were 
camped there a short time ago, the country seems to have been 
cleaned out of all kinds of game including the beautiful Reeve's 


It would not do to close a paper on North China deer without 
mentioning the famous Ssu-pu-hsiang or David's deer (Elaphurus 
davidianug). This remarkable deer was first discovered by Pere 
Armand David in a semi-domesticated state in the Imperial Hunting 
Park at Peking. This Park was thrown open in 1900 and all the 
deer in it killed by the International troops. So far as the writer 
can gather the elaphure has never been recorded in a wild state. 
Some living specimens (doubtless taken from the Nanhai-tze in 1900) 
have been exhibited in Europe and a few stuffed ones occur in the 
South Kensington and Paris Museums. Where the species originally 
came from is not known, nor does it seem likely that it will ever be 
found in a wild state. 

The Ssu-pu-hsiang stands about 4 feet, is of a light yellow-fawn 
colour and has a long tail like that of an ox. The nose too, is pointed 
anct more like that of a sheep than a deer. The most peculiar feature 
are the antlers, which instead of having brow tines, have enormous 
tines growing backward from close to the base of the beams. The 
latter go almost straight up finally branching, so that the total num- 
ber of tines is six. 

It is all these peculiarities that have led to the Chinese giving 
it the name Ssu-pu-hsiang, which means literally "not like four." 
They say it is like, yet unlike the horse, like, yet unlike the ox, like, 
yet unlike the deer, like, yet unlike the goat. 

Plate IV. 




A NORTH SIIAXST TIOE-DEKR (Capreolus bcdfordi). 
A FINE HEAD : Length llf inches. 
Spread 9| inches. 



Do you know the world's white roof -tree, do you know that windy 

Where the baffling mountain-eddies chop and change? 

Do you know the long day's patience, belly-down on frozen drift, 

While the head of heads is feeding out of range? 

It is there that I am going, where the boulders and the snow lie, 

With a trusty, nimble tracker that I know. 

I have sworn on oath, to keep it on the Horns of Ovis Poll 

And the Bed Gods call me out and I must go. 


No one who has not experienced it can form more than the faintest 
idea of what "the long day's patience, belly-down on frozen drift" while 
waiting to get a shot at the "head of heads feeding out of range" 

Day after day the hunter goes out, and climbs the steep and rocky 
ascents to the sheep range : he crosses wind-swept uplands, white with 
the driven snow : he scales treacherous precipices, jagged with needles 
and spurs of crumbling granite : ever with his trusty glasses to his 
eyes he keeps spying, spying, spying, till one day he sees 
on some far distant ridge a ram bearing the "head of 
heads" he is seeking. Immediately he is seized with an 
overwhelming desire to have that head at all costs. If luck is 
with him, he may secure it in the next two hours; or he may 
have a long tiring, day's work before he gets it; or it may take him 
days and even weeks. Men have gone mad in the pursuit of such a 
head, others have broken themselves in the endeavour to answer this, 
the most powerful call of the Bed Gods. Those who survive it and 
come out triumphant will be changed men, the unore so tbe longer 
and harder the chase. Perhaps the change will not be noticeable to 
the outside world, but from that time on he will never look upon life 
in quite the same way. The creature he followed and shot will become 



increasingly sacred to him. That head becomes a fetish, and all his life 
his heart will beat quicker and the hot blood go surging through his 
being, as he recalls the memory of those days of toil, hours of almost 
agonized stalking and that final supreme age-long moment of suspense* 
as he took aim, pressed the trigger and awaited the result of his death - 
messenger. And who can describe the agony, the terrible stinging 
regret, that must last a lifetime, when that proud head, held high as 
ever, is born swiftly, away and away never more to be seen except in 
bitter memory? That is sheep hunting. 

To the Pamirs, to the Eocky Mountains, to the Himalayas and 
the Altai, men have gone in search of wild sheep, the wariest of all 
game. Through privation, hardship, toil and exposure th>ey have 
attained their ambitions, and many a fine head, gracing a stately hall, 
tells the story of their endeavours. 

It has fallen to the lot of but few Europeans to shoot the wild 
sheep of North China. The animal itself is undoubtedly the rarest of 
its kind inhabiting but a few isolated areas. It is being driven out by 
the great northward flow of Chinese settlers, that is also driving back 
the Mongols. 

It is mercilessly hunted by the natives, while there have been 
Europeans who have not been above taking unreasonably heavy toll 
from its fast diminishing numbers. One man, has gone so far as to 


offer so much per head to the native hunters, with the result that in 
the last- two years some dozens of good rams hiave 1 been killed, out of 
a district, that contains not more than about a hundred rams all told. 
S'o far only two or three districts, all of very restricted area, have 
been discovered containing these sheep. Under these circumstances 
it is the duty of every European and American, who is fortunate 
enough to visit these districts to hold himself in strict control, and to 
be content with his two or three head. 

There are a good many different species of wild sheep, but this 
paper will be confined to tttose inhabiting Asia, particularly that part 
of Asia adjoining China. 

Of the large type to which the North China sheep (Ovis jubata) 
belongs, there are five distinct species, ranging from the Pamirs to 
Siberia. The most westerly species bears the well known name of 
Ovis poli, and was first discovered by Marco Polo. This species is 
characterized by the great length and wide spread of the horns in the 
ram. The spiral is more drawn out than in any other species. It 
inhabits the high Central Asian steppes known as the Pamirs, and 
has probably been more hunted by Europeans than any of the other 

Next to this comes Ovis hodgsoni, which inhabits Thibet, and 
is characterized by the massiveness of it's horns, together with the 
extreme compression of the spiral. The horns grow abruptly back, 
their ends often coming flush with the animal's nose, so that they 
have to be kept worn down in order that their bearer may eat. On 
this account) long, horns are the exception. 

A third, and perhaps the largest species is found in the Thian 
Shan and Altai Mountains. This is known as Ovis littledalei, named 
after its discoverer. Very few of this species have been shot by 

The fourth species is Ovis ammon, with which 0. hodgsoni, and 
O. jubata, are often confused. It is an inhabitant of Mongolia and 

Ovis jubata, the North China species was first discovered north 
of Peking, and described by Peters in 1876. Since then it has pretty 
well been lost, sight of, till within the last ten years it was rediscovered 
in North Shansi, by whom I do not know. The first specimens I saw 
of it were brought down to Tientsin in 1906. One of these was an 
enormous head, of which' I have not seen the rival, and my regret is 
that I did not measure it. 


This sheep seems to have been driven out of the district north 
of Peking, and at present is only definitely known to inhabit North 

It is a really magnificent animal, and it is possible that it may yet 
be found to be the largest species of all. 

Up to the present the greatest measurements obtained are : length 
of horn 52 inches; basal circumference of horn 19 inches; height at 
shoulder 45f inches. This compares favourably with the records of 
the other four species, which are as follow: 
Ovis poll: 

Eecord length of horn 75 inches. 

Record basal circumference of horn 16f inches. 

Record height at siboulder 46 inches. 

0. littledalei: 

Record length of horn 62| inches. 
Record basal circumference 19 inches. 
Record height, at shoulder, not given. 

0. hodgsoni: 

Record length of horn 75 inches. 

Record basal circumference 18| inches. 

Approximate height at' shoulder 42 inches to 48 inches. 

0. ammon : 

Record length of horn 62 inches. 

Record basal circumference 19 inches. 

Approximate height at shoulder 42 inches to 48 inches. 

It will bo seen from these measurements that the horns of 
f O. jubata, have a greater basal circumference in proportion to, their 
length than any of the other species. It must be remembered that 
as only a comparatively few of the North China and T'hdan Shan sheep 
have been measured, it is highly probable that much larger heads 
exist. As it is these two species hold the records for basal circum- 
ference of horns. 

The American Bighorn (Ovis canadensis) and the Karnschatkan 
wild scheep (Ovis nivicola) are considerably smaller than these Central 
Asian giants. Their records are respectively: length of horn 50^ 
inches, basal circumference 18 inches, and length of horn 39 inches, 
basal circumference 14f inches. In t'hte case of the American Bighorn, 
a great number of heads have been secured and measured, so that the 
record is probably well established and hard to beat. A full grown 
ram averages not more than 38 inches at the shoulder. 

Plate V. 

(Ovis jubata). 


Length of horn: 50 inches. 
Girth of horn: 17^ inches. 


The wild sheep of North China' is of a dark fawn grey colour, with 
a very pronounced white croup disc, and cream coloured legs. The 
hair is thick and in places inclined to be woolly. There is a well 
developed mane, while the hair on the front of the neck is long. In 
very old rams the shoulders and back become flecked with white. 
They are very deep in the chest, light in the quarters, with long 
slender, though powerful legs. The tail is very short, being marked 
above with dark brown, which is connected with the brown of the back. 
The bead is held erect, there being a tremendous development of the 
neck muscles and vertebrae to support the enormous weight of horn. 

The country inhabited by 0. jubata consists of rugged mountain 
ranges radiating from extensive grassy and rolling uplands. These 
mountains average about 7,000 ft. in altitude, which, is not! very high 
for sheep. They rise abruptly from the plain, which is not more than 
2,500 ft. above sea level. This gives a rapid ascent of over 4,000 ft-., 
no mean climb if taken in a single day. 

The sheep scatter in small herds all over the ridges, retiring to 
the uplands when pursued. In summer the old rams retire to the high 
back ranges, though the ewes and young rams stay on in their usual 

The rutting season is in October, the young being born in April 
and May. When in combat over the ewes, two rams will back off 
from each other, lower their heads and charge. The impact is terrific 
as the two masses of horn, driven by several hundred pounds of bone 
and muscle, crash into each other. The battered condition of many 
horns testifies to the fierceness of the conflicts, which may be heard a 
considerable distance away. When one ram is beaten, he seeks safety 
in flight, the victor following up his success by running behind and 
butting the vanquished one in the rear, till he is well out of the way of 
the herd, over which the fight has taken place. 

The rams are in best condition just before and during the rutting 
season, when also they are most reckless and easily hunted. Sub- 
sequently they leave the ewes, and go off together in twos and threes. 
Very old rams usually become solitary, keeping aloof from their kind 
the greater part of the year. When three rams are seen together it 
may be noticed that the largest acts as leader. He is followed closely 
by the smallest, whale the second in size, being more independent 
usually lags in t'hie rear. In a large herd of ewes under the guidance 
of an old ram, an old ewe generally leads the way, while the ram 
herds the rest, keeping them all in front of him. Only 


when danger presses will he step up and take the lead. This is also 
the case with antelopes and some deer. 

The speed and agility of these sheep is remarkable. They will 
travel over the roughest country, down almost perpendicular cliffs, 
leaping from crag- to crag as easily as a pony gallops down the last 
quarter in the trials. 

Though their hearing and sense of smell are highly developed, they 
are chiefly remarkable for their keen sight, to which they trust more 
than to anything else. Thus in stalking them, though it is well to keep 
to lee-ward and to move as silently as possible, it is much more 
important to keep out of sight,. ' ;, 

The flesh of this animal is excellent, especially that on the ribs 
and hind quarters. Naturally the flesh of the ewes is more tender 
and sweet than that of the rams. The skin is used in making leather 
and rugs, being worth Tls. 2.00 a piece. 

My first experience of this splendid animal was in the spring of 
1912, when with three European companions I visited the mountains 
round Kuei-hua-ch'eng. Two of my companions had already visited 
the district and had secured some nice trophies. Leaving the town 
we struck into the mountains and pitched camp about five miles up a 
deep and rocky ravine, down which flowed a clear stream, and where 
we were fairly well sheltered from t'hte terrible storms that rage through 
those mountains at that time of year. 

From here we hunted in every direction. Usually we split up 
into two parties, each taking a native hunter along. In this way we 
covered a good deal of country, but were not very successful. The 
season was a bit late, and though we saw plenty of big rams they 
were very wild. Only two of us succeeded in getting good heads and 
we finally gave up hunting, and moved off to new grounds in an attempt 
to get other game. 

My second visit to this district took place in the winter of 1913, 
and from a hunter's point of view was much more successful and 
enjoyable. This time Captain T. Holcomb of the U. S. Marines 
accompanied me, and we had some really fine sport. 

The weather being too cold for tents, we found lodgings at a 
little hamlet situated at the base of the mountains, in the mouth 
of one of the long valleys leading right into the heart of the sheep 
country. In this way we had the choice of two routes into the 
hunting grounds, one, a stiff climb up the two thousand foot ascent 
ais the back of our hamlet, the other a ten mile tramp up the rocky 
valley with its half frozen stream. In any case several stiff climbs 


and many miles hard marching 1 , were necessary to get at the sheep, 
so it mattered little, which path we took. My companion usually 
preferred the stiff climb to begin with, while I kept to the valley 
route. This naturally set us to hunting in different sections of coun- 
try, so that? we did not interfere with each other. 

The first day, however, we both started together up the "white 
trail" as we called the very conspicuous path that lead up the moun- 
tain side. This trail can be seen from the eastern and south-eastern 
boundaries of the Kuei-hua-ch'eng plain, fully forty miles away. 

Arriving at the top, just an hour after leaving camp, we con- 
tinued along one of the great ridges leading to the uplands. On 
our way we sighted a small herd of ewes, which gave us a splendid 
chance of testing our rifles, but we were after royal game, and let 
them go. On reaching the grassy uplands, one of the Mongol hun- 
ters spied two rams standing away off on the crest of a ridge. As 
it. was* my companion's first experience of sheep hunting I suggested 
that he should try to get up to these rams, one of which we could see by 
our glasses), had a fine pair of horns. 

Accordingly we separated. I had not gone far when Holcomb's 
rifle rang out, and looking round I saw a large herd of sheep break- 
ing away to the west. I took one rapid shot, but failed to find a 
mark, and as the herd was well on its way up an opposing slope I 
reserved my fire for something more certain. 

Those shots seemed to set all the game in the country moving. 
First a large covey of partridges rose from almost under my feet, 
and sailed off on whistling wings. Then a herd of six roedeer came 
bounding out of a little hollow in front of me, and swept away to the 
north. Next instant, from out a deep ravine to the east, where I 
had secured my first good head, walked a herd of sheep led by two 
old rams. This was what I sought. A ram with a herd was bound 
to be a gjood one. 

Making my two shikarees crouch down in the long grass, I got 
out my pocket telescope and ascertained that both rams carried good 
horns, the second being slightly the larger. Obviously they were rivals 
for the ownership of the herd, and as such would be easier to stalk 
than lone rams, or those without a harem. 

We were a long way from the sheep, but kept perfectly still 
till they had crossed a ridge and disappeared over the main divide, 
Then carefully noting the lie of the land, and the direction of the 
wind, we cut across the slopes to head off the herd. The sheep had 
not been really scared, and we guessed that they would move slowly, 


once they were across the ridge. As a matter of fact they descended 
the shady slope about half way, and then stopped to feed. 

In less than half an hour we were peeping cautiously over one 
of the side ridges at the unsuspecting animals. The big ram was 
lying down, while his ewes fed all round him. The other ram had 
crossed the valley, and stood like a sentinel on a small spur of rock. 
This rendered stalking quite impossible as each ram, kept watch, as 
it were, for the other, and either taking alarm would warn the other. 

We decided to lie and wait for a change that would be more fav- 
ourable, but after a most uncomfortable hour, during which we slowly 
chilled down to numbness in the biting wind, there was no change 
in the positions of our quarry, except that the sentinel across the 
valley, had settled himself comfortably to enjoy his daily sun bath, 
and several of the ewes had joined their lord, and lay quietly rumi- 
nating by his side. 

I did not care to risk a long shot, so finally decided to get nearer. 
If only I could cross a small coverless stretch at the bottom of the 
main valley I could creep up to within easy range. In any case, if 
the sheep took alarm, and moved off, they would probably offer me a 
better chance of stalking them. I crept slowly down to the grassy 
stretch, which I tried to cross, but the moment I showed myself the 
old ram rose to his feet, and started off to where the other ram kept 
watch. This animal also took alarm, and before long every sheep 
was out of sight in a side ravine on the north of the main valley. 
I hurried to get to a favourable spot, but. before I could do so the 
leading ram appeared on the next side ridge. Sinking down behind 
a boulder, I waited till the herd rounded the shoulder into the next 
side ravine. Then I hurried up the slope, arriving at the shoulder 
just in time to see the herd cross the main ridge. Now, however, 
they seemed to have got over their fears once more, and were moving 
slowly, grazing and playing with each other as they went. They 
crossed a wide gentle slope, and entered another side ravine. This 
time they did not reappear till I was well within range, and gave me 
the chance I sought. Drawing a bead upon the big ram, who stood 
end on to me, I pressed the trigger. A spirt of dust rose from the 
slope in front of his nose. He turned and dashed away, 
followed by his herd of ewes, while I lay in the grass, 
cursing the eagerness, which had made me forget that my 
rifle carried high at close range. All my care in stalking, had 
gone for nothing; my patience in the cold north wind was wasted. 
The day was far spent : there was nothing to do but- go home, empty 


handed. When, oh when, would I learn to think before pressing 
the trigger? 

We started homeward depressed and chilled, when suddenly came 
one of those turns in fortune, when the fickle Dame seems to take pity 
on the one she has flouted, and gives him one more chance. On 
rounding the shoulder, we spied the herd away on the shady side of 
a distant ridge. By rights we should never have seen that herd 
again, but there it was, and the sheep instead of fleeing with those 
long graceful bounds, that take them over the hillsides eight feet 
at a jump, were standing gazing along their? back-trail. 

Dropping out of sighit, we doubled round the hill top, crossed 
a grassy slope, skirted the sunny side of the ridge on which we had 
seen the sheep, and topped it between two rocky crags. There, sure 
enough, was the old ram with two ewes, still foolishly gazing along 
their back-trail. This time I made no mistake, and almost as I 
pressed the trigger I heard the thud of a bullet which has found its 

Once more the ram dashed off, vanishing into the next hollow 
and reappearing on the next ridge. The next time we saw the herd, 
there were only the ewes. A few minutes later I was bending over 
my prize, admiring the head, which bore the longest horns I had yet 
measured. Dame Fortune had indeed showed her smiling face, like 
old Sol bursting through a rift in the thunder clouds. 

The horns measured 50 ; inches in length, and had a basal cir- 
cumference of 17 inches. The old ram stood 44 inches at the shoulder 
and must have weighed at least- 300 Ibs. It was all the hunters 
could do to pack home, hide, horn, and the four quarters. 

By six o'clock we were back in camp. Soon the Captain turned 
up with a nice head, so that we entered a successful day in our diaries. 

Next day I shot a wild goat, and my companion secured a second 
ram, but as we each wanted one more ram we decided to stay on a 
little longer. 

The weather turned in bitterly cold on the following day, and 
I experienced one of the hardest, and most disappointing days of my 
life. Owing to the extreme cold the bolt of my rifle refused to work 
with sufficient' force to discharge the cartridges. Not realizing this, 
but putting it down to defective cartridges I kept on. I had the 
terrible sensation of coming upon four different rams, with a useless 
gun in my hands. The annoying thing was that after I had pulled 
the trigger several times, and the sheep had taken alarm, and were 
pretty well out of range, the rifle usually began to work. 


On reaching camp, long after dark, after an eleven hours' tramp 
over rocky ridges, across wind-swept uplands, and through deep snow 
drifts, we found that Holcomb had secured a good head early in the 

Next* day, however, luck was mine once more, for within two 
hours of leaving camp, I had sighted a herd of sheep, stalked it and 
secured the ram. He was a good sized animal, and I was now satis- 
fied. In shooting him, one of my bullets passed clean through his 
chest, and dropped an old ewe which was running beside 'him. This 
was an unusually large specimen, standing nearly as high as the ram, 
and having 18 inch horns. 

After this we gave up hunting sheep, and decided to move on 
to other country after wapiti and wild goats. 

An account of wild sheep in China is not complete without some 
reference to the burhel (Ovis nahura), a small wild sheep, which occurs 
in Soutb- western Kansu. This sheep is of a grey-brown colour, with 
black markings upon the legs and belly which otherwise are cream. 
The horns, instead of curving in a circle like the other wild sheep, take 
a backward turn, giving the head more the appearance of a goat's. 
A very good description of this sheep is given in Frank Wallace's 
"Big Game of Central and Western China." 



OVER two centuries ago, when white men first penetrated the 
continent of North America, they found a magnificent deer, akin to, 
yet far larger and finer than the Scotch! red deer. To this animal 
they erroneously gave the name of elk, by which it is still often called. 
The proper name is wapiti, for the word elk applies to the large deer 
with palmated horns of Scandinavia. 

In certain areas of North America, wapiti swarmed in countless 
thousands, but in time the ruthless, destroying hand of the white 
settler well nigh swept them out of existence. 

For a long time it was supposed that deer belonging to this 
type were only to be found in this continent, excepting of course 
the red deer in Europe, but within the last few decades Europeans, 
who have succeeded in reaching the vast almost uninhabited wilds 
of Central Asia have discovered deer, almost as fine, and every whit as 
sporting as the American animals, in the Thian Shan, Siberian and 
Manchurian wapitis. 

In still more recent times several species of wapiti have been dis- 
covered within the confines of the Middle Kingdom, and to-day those 
who can afford the time may stalk this lordly deer in his native haunts 
in Kansu, Szechuan and North 1 Shansi. 

Much discussion has taken place as to the status of the different 
Asiatic species hitherto described, but it is now almost universally 
agreed that there are at least thfe following ten distinct species: 
The Kashmir Stag, (Cervus hanglu or cashmirianus) from Kashmir. 
The Bactrian Wapiti (Cervus bactrianus) from Turkestan. 
The Yarkand stag (Cervus yarcandensis) from Eastern Turkestan., 
The Sh-ou (Cervus affinis) from South Thibet and North Eastern India. 
Thorold's Deer (Cervus albirostris) from Thibet, North' of Lhassa. 
The Siberian Wapiti (Cervus asiasticus) from Siberia. 
The Thian Shan Wapiti (Cervus songaricus) from the Thian Shan. 
The Kansu Wapiti (Cerv\us Ttansuensis) from Kansu. 
The Szechuan Wapiti (Cervus macneilli) from North-western Sze- 
The Manchurian Wapiti (Cervus xanthopygus) from Manchuria. 


All of these are large handsome deer, with horns, that vary in 
shape, length and thickness, but conform to the elaphine type (red- 
deer type). 

For the present, however, we need be concerned only with the 
last four species, as belonging more especially to the Chinese fauna. 
Of these the Thian Shan wapiti (C. songancus) is undoubtedly 
the largest rivalling the American wapiti (C. canadensis) in the length 
and number of points of its horns. The record measurements of the 
[horns of the' latter species are as follows: length along beam 70 } 
inches, circumference 14J inches, widest spread 68 inches. The best 
records hitherto secured of the Thian Shan wapiti are: 55 inches 
in length, 8 inches in girth, with thirteen points. These 
measurements it will be seen are far less than the American 
records, but it must be taken into consideration that while thousands 
of American wapiti have been shot and measured, the number of 
Thian Shan stags shot up to date can almost be counted on the fingers 
of one hand. The same applies to most of the Asiatic species. 

The next in size to the Thian Shan wapiti is the closely allied 
Kansu wapiti (C. kansuensis) described as a distinct species within 
the last two or three years. The only records I can find of this deer 
are those of two stags secured on an expedition into Western China 
carried out by Mr. George Fen wick- Owen in 1911. The measurements 
of the best stag are: length 43J inches, circumference 5 inches, 
widest spread 38 J inches. This stag had eleven points. His com- 
panion Mr. H. F. Wallace, who describes the hunting of these deer and 
other big game in his book "Big Game of Central and Western China," 
secured a stag, whose horn .had a circumference of 5f inches. These 
deer were secured in the Min Chou district of South-western Kansu. 

Of the Szechuan wapiti (C. macneilli) no horn measurements 
lhave yet been published that I know of, the species having been 
described from a doe. 

The Manchurian wapiti (C. xanthopygus) is an animal differing 
from the western forms in having a greyer coat and shorter but com- 
paratively stouter horns. Its record measurements are: length 33 J 
inches, circumference 5f inches, widest spread 21| inches. 

This deer inhabits the heavily forested districts of Kirin and Hei- 
lung-c'Mang, and, like the others, is much persecuted for the sake of 
its horns, which, however, are considered of a superior quality. 

In North Shansi a wapiti is found, which up to the present has 
not been definitely identified as belonging to any of the species already 

Plate VI. 


H H 

& g 



*H hJ 



H _- 


mentioned. It is a fine animal carrying splendid horns, and having 
characteristics pertaining to both the Kansu and Manchurian species. 

Thus its horns approach more nearly to those of the Kansu wapiti 
in length, while they are much thicker and heavier. 

The only records are those of a magnificent twelve pointer recently 
shot by Captain T. Holcomb of the U. S. Marines. They are : length 
41 inches, circumference 9 inches, widest spread 29 inches. 

In colour this deer is of a rich reddy-brown in the summer, 
while in winter it is of a fine grey-brown in adults, changing into 
almost silver-grey in the very old bucks. There is a considerable 
amount of silver-grey on the head, which with* the darkening on fche 
nose and the fine horns makes it a very handsome trophy. In this 
characteristic it approaches more nearly to the Manchurian wapiti, 
the more western forms being distinctly browner in colour. The light 
patch on the rump, or croup disc as it is called, is not white as in 
the Kansu and Szechuan forms, but of a light sandy yellow colour, and 
is surrounded by a conspicuous black band, which runs down to she 
base of the tail, and also hast a tendency to continue up the back as 
a median dorsal line. The tail is of the same colour as the croup disc. 
The legs are of a pretty mouse-brown colour, darker on the anterior sur- 
face. The chest and belly are dark brown, almost black. In this 
feature it differs from the Kansu wapiti. In short, the North Shansi 
wapiti appears to be an intermediate form between those from Man- 
en una and those from Kansu. 

My own experience with wapiti has been confined almost' entirely 
to those found in North Shansi, but judging from accounts written by 
others, who have hunted them in Kansu, the Thian Shan and elsewhere, 
they are all much the same in habits, so that the following notes may 
be said to apply more or less accurately to the whole group. 

The country inhabited by the wapiti in North Shansi borders that 
over which the sheep range, and is even more rough and precipitous 
with very much less of the rolling grassy uplands. It is dotted over 
with sparse birch woods in which the deer seek cover, certain woods 
and ravines being more favoured by them than others, doubtless on 
account of the proximity of permanent supplies of fresh water. 

The few small herds that exist, wander from one to another of these 
favoured spots over wide stretches of country. In winter the deer lie 
up during the night and for a couple of hours at noon, feeding in the 
morning and afternoon. During the Warmer months they travel during 
the night and feed very early in the morning and late in the evening, 
while they lie up in well shaded woods during the whole of the day. 


In the autumn after the antlers have dried and the velvet has 
been rubbed off against the tree trunks, the rutting season commences, 
and then the big stags begin to send forth their roaring challenge, and 
fight desperate duels with each other, the successful ones gathering 
large harems round them. By the end of November the bujks begin 
to leave the hinds and go off in twos and threes. Then thie herds are 
led by old hinds, and gradually split up, till in the spring (May when 
the fawns 'are born their mothers may be seen in twos and threes like 
the bucks. The fawns are pretty little creatures of a reddy-fawn 
colour spotted with white. Just before they are born their mothers 
are hunted unmercifully, as at this stage of their existence the little 
creatures are considered most valuable as medicine. A month later 
the big bucks come in for their share of persecution, for their horns are 
in velvet, and are then worth from Tls. 30 to Tls. 80 per pair to the 
Chinese apothecary. (Manchurian wapiti horns are worth double this 
figure). The horns are then called "shueh chiao" (blood horns) by 
the natives, while hartshorn is known as "lujung" (deer wool). This 
product is considered by wealthy Chinese to be of the utmost efficacy, 
and they spend large sums of money upon it. 

It is difficult to say whether this popular appreciation 
of the medicinal worth of hartshorn is favourable or otherwise 
to the preservation of the wapiti. From my own experience 
I am inclined to look upon it as a blessing in disguise, for, 
as far as the Shansi deer are concerned, it provides them with a very 
long close season and a comparatively short open one. I found that 
the majority of native hunters, so far from hunting the deer when 
their horns are not in velvet, resent outsiders doing so. I have al- 
ways found it extremely difficult to secure hunters who would guide 
me to the haunts of these deer and the sika, and have been led on 
many a fruitless chase. I also found this to be the case in Manchuria, 
though in places like Kansu and the regions westward, where wapiti 
still seem to be plentiful, and where the natives cannot fall back 
on farming during the rest of the year, the wapiti is certainly hunted 
without intermission. It is these districts whic'hi supply by far the 
greater part of the big; demand for hartshorn, and huge caravans of 
mules and camels laden with horns, dried as well as in velvet, may 
be seen coining in from these western regions. 

In hunting the wapiti various methods are adopted. In Man- 
churia advantage is taken of the stag's habit of rolling in certain spots 
in the open glades of the forests, and pitfalls are made. Pitfalls are 
also made along the deer-paths in the woods. If by any chance a 


deer is taken alive and uninjured, it is carefully kept, and the horns, 
if it be a male, are shorn off annually when they are at the right stage 
of development. If it be a female it is kept for breeding purposes. 
In many places there are large deer farms. 

In Shansi the native hunters resort to driving, several men with 
guns being posted round a wood, wherein the deer are known to be 
hiding, while others beat, through it towards the guns. 

In Kansu and westward stalking or lying in wait for the deer 
seem to be the favourite methods employed by the natives. 

To the European these methods do not appeal. Activity being 
the essence of his existence, he prefers to go after his quarry, track it 
to its lair, or stalk it on the open hillside and finally risk all on a 
difficult' shot, rather than make sure of it, by having it driven to him, 
while he sits comfortably in some sheltered nook or shady dingle. 

A good many Europeans have hunted the Asiatic wapiti, but it 
would be almost safe to say that the number of those who have shot 
the Shansi wapiti does not exceed half a dozen ; indeed it is my belief 
that these deer were not definitely known to inhabit' this region till 
two years ago, when certain Europeans in Kuei-hua-ch'eng were told 
of their existence. Subsequently in the spring of 1912 a party of four 
foreigners, of which the writer was one, discovered them in the moun- 
tains west of that city. Having secured a couple of specimens for 
the Smithsonian Institution, we decided to leave them alone as they 
were in very poor condition, trusting that at some future date fortune 
would bring us to the same country at a more favourable season. 

My hopes in this direction were realized in the winter of 1913, during 
a trip, already referred to in my paper on wild sheep. Captain Holcomb 
and I were fortunate enough to discover a good stretch of wapiti country, 
where we secured several nice trophies. A description of our ex- 
periences will give the reader some idea of the splendid sport' to be 
had in the chase of this lordly creature. 

We arrived, after a hard journey, at a little village, nestling in 
the shelter of a deep and narrow valley, one day early in December, 
with a chill north wind blowing and a leaden snowy sky overhead. 
We had hoped to get further up the valley, but the semi-frozen con- 
dition of the rushing mountain stream prevented this, and we were 
glad to accept the hospitality of a friendly villager, who placed two 
good rooms at our disposal. 

Engaging some local .hunters we started early next morning for 
the deer grounds. The wind had increased overnight, and now came 
whistling down from the north with a knife-like edge, that penetrated 


and chilled to the bone. For three hours we faced it steadily, our path 
growing rougher at every step. Several roedeer and a wild goat were 
seen, but excepting the latter, at which a few shots were fired, they 
were left alone. Presently, as we neared the head of the now rapidly 
ascending valley, we glimpsed our first wapiti standing on an open 
'hillside gazing at us. Seeking cover behind some scrub, we got out 
our glasses, and, made out that the deer was a buck with fairly good 
horns. There was no chance of stalking him, so we both tried a long 
shot but missed. He turned and vanished over the ridge. Next instant 
two more deer broke cover, and we fired bringing first one and then the 
other down. On hurrying to the spot where they lay, we were chagrined 
and ashamed to find that in our excitement we had shot a couple of 
does. We were hardly to blame for 1 this, however, for, at the range we 
had shot them, it had been impossible to make out the horns on the buck 
without the aid of glasses. There was nothing for it but to skin the 
deer for museum specimens and then go after the buck. 

After the unpleasant job was over, and one of the hunters had been 
dispatched to camp with the skins, we discussed the best way to secure 
the buck, and finally I left my companion to follow up its trail, while 
I cut across country in search of other game. I drew blank and after 
a long, tiring tramp returned to camp. On the way back I shot a large 
roedeer with an unusually fine pair of horns. 

My companion, after we separated, crossed the grassy upland and 
finally came upon his quarry lying down in what is known as a "yard," 
a place, usually in a well sheltered wood, specially favoured by deer 
as a dormitory and playground. He successfully stalked the stag and 
wounded him in the leg. Then followed one of those long heart-break- 
ing chases across country, but finally he got his chance, and brought 
down the animal with a well directed shot at long range. 

Next day we went off in different directions, but my luck was out, 
and I did not even see a wapiti, while Holcomb ran on to the trail of 
a large stag, followed it up, and came upon his quarry quietly feeding 
in an open glade, surrounded by fifteen hinds. At the fourth shot he 
brought, the splendid animal down. It had a magnificent pair of horns, 
the measurements of which I have already given. 

After this my companion devoted his time to hunting wild-goats, 
while I kept on in the hopes of securing a wapiti with good horns. 

Next day, leaving camp before it was light, with the hunters at my 
back I set off towards the wapiti "yard" where Holcomb had wounded 
his first buck. It was empty, so we struck off over the snow-covered 

Plate VII. 

Photo by Captain T. Holcomb. 


NORTH CHINA GORAL. (Urotragus caudatus). 


Before long we came upon the fresh trail of a large herd of deer, 
and followed it up. It lead us several miles in an easterly direction and 
then turned southward along the eastern side of a massive ridge, ribbed 
with side ridges and deep wooded ravines. Suddenly out of one of 
these two large bucks appeared, one with a good pair of horns. They 
did not seem frightened, but crossed the adjacent ridge into the next 
ravine. With bated breath we crept to the spot where they had vanish- 
ed, but could not see them for the dense birch brush. Sending the 
two hunters into the woods, I took up a commanding position near the 
head of the ravine. However, the only game that came my way were a 
couple of roedeer and a herd of twelve wapiti does. Finally I saw the 
blue smoke of a fire curling up from a spot in the woods, a.nd descending 
to it, found my hunters having their lunch. They said that the two 
bucks had broken cover and gone out at the bottom of the ravine, a 
most unusual thing. 

After we had satisfied our cravings for food, we picked up their 
trails, and followed them back into the first ravine. Before long we 
saw them just topping the crest of the opposing ridge. They crossed 
it and disappeared once more, and there was nothing for us to do but 
follow, though by now we were pretty tired, and the sun was fast 
slanting westward. Over the top of the ridge the trail turned back 
towards the west, and I knew that the deer were heading for the "yard," 
we had visited earlier in the day. As straight as an arrow the tracks 
led, while we followed, and at last we came in sight; of the wood. There 
sure enough, with my glasses, I could make out a great stag lying in 
the snow. We ducked out of sight, dodged round the crest of a low 
ridge, followed down the gentle hollow and, when, about opposite to the 
place where the deer were lying, crept stealthily up to the shoulder. In 
the gathering gloom I could make out what appeared to be a large 
deer with good horns lying within about 150 yards of me. Taking a care- 
ful aim I fired. The deer rolled over, and I was about to give vent to 
my feelings in a joyous shout, when up rose the form of a huge stag 
with spreading antlers, such as any sportsman might wish to own. 
One moment he stood gazing in my direction, and then with head low, 
and horns held back to avoid the branches, he commenced to run 
through the birch trees. I fired several shots. His pace slackened, 
but he gained the shoulder of the ridge. There he stood with the last 
rays of the setting sun lighting up his superb antlers, and his hot 
breath coming in clouds of vapour. Steadying myself, and taking more 
careful aim, I pressed the trigger, there was a click but no report 1 . 
Magazine and chamber were empty. Next instant the stag vanished 
over the ridge, and though I did not know it, I had lost my last chance 


of getting a big wapiti. We harried across to the yard where the 
smaller buck lay. He jumped up and ran, but my second shot brought 
him down once more. Leaving the hunters to skin this animal I 
hurried on to pick up the big stag's trail. I was sure I had hit him, 
but the trail I found bore no testimony to this effect. The sun had 
set. Darkness would be on us in half an hour, and we were fully ten 
miles from camp. I felt sure that I would be able to pick up and 
follow the trail of the big wapiti next day, and doubted not that I would 
find him at no great distance, so decided to return to camp forthwith. 
As we set out with the skin and head of tlie small stag, the last glimmer 
of daylight faded away, and we had a long tramp in the dark, finally 
arriving at our village tired out, but full of hope for what the next day 
would bring us. 

We were doomed to disappointment, however, for though we found 
the trail easily enough, it soon got mixed up with half a dozen others, 
just as fresh. When at last, after infinite pains we had unravelled the 
tangled skein, the treacherous sun was melting the snow that had lain 
undiminished for a week, and soon we hopelessly lost the trail in a 
wide valley, whence all the snow had evaporated.. Finally 
I had to be content with a couple of small bucks. The 
two days following I searched the whole country for my big 
buck, but in vain. At the end of the second day, some wood cutters 
told me that they had seen a large deer with fine antlers travelling 
northward fifty li away. It had a broken leg and two dogs were worry- 
ing it. Also a couple of hunters had gone after it. Then I gave up. 
My two hunters, who had faithfully stuck to me, were worn out, and 
the hope that had kept me going during those days of remorseless 
tracking and searching over such country, and in such weather left me, 
and I realized that I had never been so tired in my life. 

Further more our time was up, so after a day spent in packing, we 
left* the hunting grounds on our way back to civilization and the longed 
for comforts of home. But the thought of those antlers, lost, gone to 
swell another man's bag, is, and will continue to be the bitterest re- 
miniscence of many failures in the hunting field. 



NORTH China, except for the great alluvial plains adjoining the 
seaboard, is essentially a mountainous country. From east to west, 
and north to south t'hie mighty ranges run. Massive spurs and 
castellated peaks rise from the ridges, their ribbed and naked sides often 
falling sharply away for thousands of feet. Down through the strata 
descend deep chasms, hewn by the eternal passage of mist-fed waters, 
whose many voices rise from the shadowy depths, so far below that 
they come only as a gentle murmur. In many places these walls of 
rock, sheer and precipitous, are scarred across with light grass-covered 
ledges, upon which one would think an eagle could scarcely find foot- 
hold, far less a wingless quadruped. 

Here and there caves, wide crevices or water-worn hollows neath 
over-hanging crags give shelter from t'be warring elements, while, at 
intervals amongst the precipices and rugged cliffs, occur more gentle 
slopes, covered with rich grass, dense brush and sometimes with stunted 

It is such places as these that the goral chooses for its home. 
Here, sure-footed as a cat, agile as a deer, it may hide where none 
can find, or flee where none dare follow; and so find safety from its 
many enemies-. 

He who would hunt the goral must be prepared to face the most 
difficult climbs, involving the hardest kind of work, and calling for a 
cool head, steady nerves and an active body. Often he will find him- 
self hanging on by his nails, with nothing but space beneath him, 
and a seemingly unattainable s'belf his only hope of safety. All this, 
however, but lends zest to the sport, which ranks very high amongst 
the different kinds to be had in this country. 

The goral has been called the chamois of Asia, and it would be difficult 
to find a more appropriate name. In build, size and habits the goral, 
or good-antelope, as it is sometimes called, is very much like the 
s 5 


chamois. It has the same short goat-like feet, the same soft though 
fuzzy hair and mane, the same large ears and the same wonderful 
agility and climbing powers. The h'orns, though of the same type, 
are, however, straighter and do not have the sharp hook of those of 
the chamois. Again, whereas the chamois goes about in herds, the 
goral is more of a solitary animal. The chamois inhabits the mountain 
summits and open ridge tops, while the goral keeps more to the steep 
precipitous sides. 

The goral, together with the chamois, the serow and the remark- 
able takin, form a connecting link between the true goats and the 
antelopes. They are all mountain inhabiting animals, and are mainly 
characterized by their smooth, cylindrical horns, usually annulated at 
the base, their goat-like forms arid their absence of beards. Two species 
occur in the Himalayas. These are Urotragus goral and 17. bedfordi. In 
Eastern Thibet occur two others U. cinereus and U. griseus. Heude has 
described several from different parts of China, but as the status of some 
of these is' questioned, we will not bother with them. In this chapter we 
need be concerned with only two distinct species, one U. gale anus 
from South Shensi, and the other U. caudatus from North Chihli. 
The latter was originally described by Milne-Edwards as Antilope 

It is just possible that U. cinereus one of the Thibetan forms may 
extend into Western Kansu, and so come under our heading of North 
China fauna. 

U. galeanus is a dark grey-brown animal having a broad cream- 
coloured patch on the throat; legs cream-coloured from the knee and 
hock joints downward ; a slight suggestion of a median dorsal line ; and 
a long, curled, black tail. The insides of the ears are also cream- 
coloured. It stands about thirty inches at the shoulder and has horns 
of from four to six inches in length. These slope back sharply and 
are very pointed, with but a slight curve. 

The length of the tail is due chiefly to the great length of the 
hairs, which protrude beyond the last vertebra for five or six inches, 
and have a strong upward curl. The long tail, arched shoulders and 
head held low, together with the stealthy cat-like movements, or the 
quick, erratic bounds from rock to rock give the goral a most peculiar 

U. caudatus, so called on account of its unusually long tail, is much 
browner in colour than the foregoing species. It has a less conspicuous 
patch on the throat, a more pronounced median dorsal line, and has 
the same cream coloured legs. It inhabits the mountains of North 

Plate VIII 

Photo by Captain T. Hol<omb. 



Chihli, being found as near to Peking as the peaks surrounding the 
Nankou Pass. It is also common in the mountains to the west of 
the Capital, and extends for a considerable distance southward. In 
Shansi it occurs only in the extreme north, where, in certain places, 
it is very plentiful indeed. 

Here as elsewhere it is remorselessly hunted by the natives, so 
that it is rapidly becoming exterminated. The goral's skin is very 
pretty, the fur being soft and strong, so that it fetches a good price. 
Doubtless with the opening up of the country to increased trade with 
Europe and America, the goral is another fine sporting animal added 
to the list of those already doomed to extermination. 

In hunting the goral it is particularly important to learn as much' 
as possible of its habits. It is by far the most? elusive of all $he larger 
game animals in this country, and it is only by knowing just' where it 
may be found, and what it is likely to do when put up that one can hope 
to secure it. Of course native hunters can help a great deal, and when 
out. after goral the beginner would do well to pay strict attention to what 
his shikaree tells him to do. 

The goral feeds early in the mornings and late in the evenings often 
before and after daylight. After the morning meal, it clambers down 
to the stream-bed to get a drink, and then hurries back Jo the cliffs. 
Here it chooses a sunny spot, often on some spur or ledge of rock in full 
view of the passer by, and lies down to rest. In summer it prefers the 
shade of the caves and overhanging rocks. It must not' be imagined, 
'however, that the goral can be easily seen, because of the exposed posi- 
tions it chooses for its siesta. On the contrary, so perfectly does it 
resemble its surroundings, and so still does it lie, that it is absolutely 
invisible, even to the keen eyed natives. Sometimes, however, its 
nerves get the better of it, and it betrays its presence by a flicker of 
jbhe ear, or even by a sudden precipitous rush for a safer vicinity. 

When put up it is by far the hardest animal to hit. Its small size 
and quick erratic movements, combined with its constant appearance 
and disappearance as it dodges amongst the boulders and through the 
brush, and its remarkable' protective colouring render it a most difficult 
mark. Also it is usually put up under the worst possible conditions for 
accurate shooting. It not infrequently happens that, just at the critical 
moment, the hunter finds himself perched perilously on the edge of 
some yawning chasm, when the loss of balance means certain destruc- 
tion ; or he may be struggling to recover his breath after the exhausting 
climb, when with a rush, the quarry breaks cover, and he finds himself 
unable to draw a bead upon it. 


The best of shots are often beaten by this elusive little quadruped, 
and I know of more than one sportsman in this country with long lists 
of big game to their credits, to whom it would not be safe to mention 
the word goral. 

Nevertheless, that the goral can be secured, and just how this 
may be done, the following narratives will show. 

My first experience of the goral was gained in the Chin-ling moun- 
tains south of Si-an Fu, Shensi. Here I was camped in a little temple 
in a deep ravine, while I scoured the neighbouring peaks and ridges 
for specimens. One day I was shown a pair of goral's horns and 
was told that these animals were very plentiful on a certain peak 
not N far away. Accordingly I set off next day, accompanied by my 
boy and, after a stiff climb, reached the summit of the peak in 
question. There we found a little temple, the inmates of which told 
me that we would find a goral in a certain small cut on the east side 
of the peak. With great difficulty, owing to the dense scrub, matted 
trees and steep slopes, we made our way to the cut, and sure enough 
as we reached it, out jumped a large goral. I was in a very awkward 
position for shooting, so that the animal escaped me and was soon out 
of sight. 

We followed its trail, however, which led us round the shoulder 
of the peak, ending abruptly on the edge of a precipice, which fell 
away almost sheer for some hundreds of feet. I decided to climb down 
after my quarry, but had not gone far before the goral broke cover, 
and climbing rapidly upwards vanished Over the top as my rifle rang 
out. Fortunately my boy was ready with the shotgun and brought 
the animal down with a well directed charge of buckshot. Though 
I could not claim the honours of the chase, I was more than pleased 
at securing this fine specimen for my collection. 

It was some years before I got another opportunity of shooting a 
goral. This was in the mountainous country of North Shansi. Here, 
with three c<ompanions, I put in several days after goats, as we call- 
ed them. We had all done very well with sheep, roedeer and wapiti, 
but we failed to secure a goat. On one occasion two of the party 
went out. specially to get one of these animals. After a hard climb up 
some precipitous slopes, t'hley were stationed by the native hunters 
on narrow ledges, from whichi giddy perches they could command two 
or three other ledges, and incidentally an uninterrupted view of the 
stream and boulder-strewn bed a thousand feet below them. The na- 
tives, with many parting injunctions to the sportsmen, not to move, 
then made a detour to the head of some adjacent cliffs and began 
heaving over rocks and shouting. Very soon two goats broke cover 


and came scrambling along towards the watchers. One of the sports- 
men opened fire, and immediately the goats sought' cover and were 
lost to view. He then started to climb down to where he thought 
the quarry were hiding; but had not gone far when they broke cover 
again. Kaising his rifle he commenced to fire, regardless of the fact 
that his foothold had given way and he was sliding down a grassy 
slope towards the brink of the precipice. Of course his shots went 
wide, the goats got away, and he was only just able to save himself 
by digging the butt of his Winchester into the clinging grass, roots. The 
other sportsman had been unable to get a second view of the goats. 

On another occasion a goat was put up and was actually beaded 
off from the high cliffs, and kept dodging about the lower slopes for 
fully half an hour. The sixteen shots that were fired at this one all 
went wide, and presently, having worn its pursuers down to a state 
approaching prostration, the goat managed to get back to the high 
peaks and safety. 

During my last trip with Captain Holcomb several goats were 
bagged, but it was only by driving, the method invariably employed 
by the Chinese hunters, that my companion got his. 

This form of sport is really very enjoyable. Choosing, if possible 
a bright warm day, the party consisting, of two or three guns and as 
many beaters make for a likely spot. A stiff climb is always necessary 
for the guns to get to their posts. They are assigned certain positions 
along! the probable lines of flight of the quarry. Here they make them- 
selves as comfortable as possible, while the beaters go round to 
drive out the goats. Presently the long shouts of the drivers com- 
mence. Anon these change, and the anxious listener can distinctly 
make out the words "yang kuo ke la," meaning "a sheep has gone 
over," and indicating that the game is afoot. If luck is with the 
sportsman he will soon see a goat passing within easy range, and a 
careful shot brings the drive to a successful close. 

Though I spent a couple of days driving, my only goat was secured 
one morning on its way back to its haunts, after its daily drink from 
(the stream in the valley bottom. I had started out earlier than usual 
that morning, and so got ahead of the grass cutters, who usually dis- 
turbed the game in the valleys on the way to their work. Within 
a mile of camp we suddenly came upon the goat, which offered the 
usual tantalizing mark, as it scurried up amongst the rocks. It had 
gained an altitude of some 200 ft. above the stream bed before I was 
able to get a good aim. My second shot- hit it in the shoulders but did 
not disable it and it continued upwards with wonderful agility. At 


last, however, a bullet found its heart, and with a few convulsive 
struggles it rolled off the shelf and came flying down through space. 
I expected to find my prize hopelessly mangled after such a fall, but 
strange to relate except for a slight injury to one horn, and the two 
bullet wounds it was undamaged. 

I saw several more goats in the same way but succeeded in hitting 
only one. I lost this one, however, as it got away> its remains being 
picked up next day after the wolves bad been at it. 

My driving was a complete failure. Only one goat was put up, 
and though I managed to hit it at unusually long range it made good 
its escape in the labyrinth of rocks and boulders of a mighty amphi- 
theatre of towering cliffs and jagged scarps. 

My companion had better luck, however, securing three goats 
altogether, Two of these had good heads. He very nearly lost one 
of them, as it took refuge in a cave, in the floor of which was a deep 
shaft going into the bowels of the earth. The goat in its dying struggles 
fell into this shaft, but fortunately was caught on a small ledge, from 
which it was rescued by one of the natives. 



WHEN the word antelope is mentioned one's thbughts immediate- 
ly take wing to the great game preserves of East Africa, which country 
we have been taught to look upon as par excellence the sportmaai'a 
paradise. And so it is. There one may see herd upon herd of antelope 
and buck, often containing tJhree or four different kinds, feeding together 
on those immense grassy and shrub-dotted stretches. 

Altogether there are well over eighty kinds of antelopes found 
in Africa, ranging in size from the eighteen foot giraffe down to the 
little blue duiker, which stands only thirteen inches at the shoulder, 
or in weight from the fifteen hundred pound eland to the seven pound 
dik-dik, and in appearance from the hideously fierce looking gnu to 
the graceful and elegant spring buck. 

Nevertheless Africa is not the only place where there are antelopes. 
In Asia there are plenty of these pretty and graceful creatures, though 
there is not so great a variety. They extend from Asia Minor 
through Palestine, Arabia and Turkestan southward into India, and 
eastward and northward into Mongolia. Most of these belong to the 
genus Gazella and are inhabitants of the arid desert regions. 

In Mongolia there are at least three different species of antelopes 
or gazelles, namely, Przewalski's gazelle (GazeNa przeivalskii), the Mon- 
golian gazelle ((?. gutturosa) and the goitred antelope (G. subguttuwsa). 
Of these Przewalski's gazelle inhabits the western Gobi and is charac- 
terized by its strongly curved horns, very short tail and small size. 

The goitred antelope, so called on account of its greatly enlarged 
larynx, is commonest in Outer Mongolia. It has a long tail, and much 
straighter horns than Przewalski's gazelle. 

The Mongolian gazelle ranges from Western Gobi right across 
Mongolia and is also found all along the Chinese border. It occurs 
in vast herds often containing hundreds of head. It is larger than 
either of the other two species, and 'has longer horns. The tail is 
extremely short. 


This antelope is a fine looking animal, especially in its winter 
coat. In summer it is of a rich orange -fawn colour, with white under- 
parts and croup. The winter pelage is much lighter and is without 
the orange tint. The horns, which are only present in the males, 
rise at a slight backward angle from the head for four or five inches. 
They then slope more sharply backward and outward, finally turning 
in and slightly upward at the tips. They are nicely annulated for 
three-quarters of their length. The record measurements up to date 
are 16f inches in length and 4J inches in girth with a spread of 6f 
inches at the tips. 

This is the animal that used to be sent annually to the Palace 
in Peking as tribute from the Mongol Princes. Doubtless the reader 
has seen them for sale in the markets here and in the Capital. Only 
good sized males could be sent down, and these had to have the front 
legs crossed over the back of the neck. The flesh is excellent especially 
during the winter after it has been kept in a frozen condition for some 

The Mongols have several ways of hunting the antelope. They 
may chase them on horse back with hounds, or stalk them on foot; 
but neither of these methods could be used to supply the big demands 
from Peking. For this the chiefs have to organize big drives, which 
are conducted in the following manner. Two lines of pits or trenches 
are dug commencing far apart and gradually converging till they meet. 
In the last dozen or so pits, men, chosen for their marksmanship, are 
hidden. Then a large body of horsemen ride out and round up a 
herd, or several herds of antelope, and drive them into the wide end 
of the two lines of pits. The antelope will not attempt to jump over 
the pits, and so crowd together and are driven down the narrowing 
lane. When they reach the marksmen, the latter open fire and, inflict 
terrible slaughter. The rest of the herd, driven by fear, finally escape 
across the lines. 

I do not know how the Mongols conduct the chase with hounds, 
but should imagine that relays must be used, for tftre antelope is far 
speedier than any hound. One European of my acquaintance, who 
lived in Mongolia, told me of a Eussian wolf hound that he had, which 
couldi follow a herd of antelope keeping; just three or four leaps behind 
the hindmost, but could never catch up those last few yards. Of 
course this hound was extremely useful in catching wounded animals. 

Stalking on foot requires considerable skill and knowledge of the 
habits of the antelope. Usually two or three hunters go out on horse 

Plate IX. 

THE MONGOLIAN GAZELLE (GazeUa gutturosa). 




back. When a herd is sighted one jumps off and worms his way 
over the ground till he reaches a satisfactory position. Meanwhile 
the others have ridden round and attempt to drive the buck towards 
the man with the gun. This method can only be practised in hilly 
country, as the antelope are much too sharp-sighted kf be deceived 
in this way on the flat open plain. 

The European with his high-power long-range repeating rifle has a 
much better chance of shooting antelope than the Mongol with his 
primitive weapon, but even he will find it extremely hard to estimate 
ranges, for Mongolia, above all countries, is a land of great distances. 
Hills that appear ten minutes walk away will not be reached in an 
hour, and the range of a buck that one puts down as being not more 
tihan two hundred yards will turn out to be nearer six hundred. It is 
only when one gets into hilly country that one finds this wary game 
at all easy to secure, and even then one must either be a remarkably 
good shot, or else have had some experience of the quarry and Mon- 
golian distances. 

One thing is certain, he who attempts to go after antelope with- 
out being well mounted and having one or two equally well mounted 
attendants, will be foolish indeed. It is always best to get hold of 
a Mongol hunter, for they are certainly fine shikarees, and, if their 
advice is followed, will bring one right up to within easy range of the 

My own experience of the Mongolian antelope was gathered during 
three different collecting trips, one in the Ordos Desert, another in 
North Shansi and the third in Mongolia north of Kalgan. On the 
first trip I was unsuccessful in my attempt to shoot an antelope, 
though it was not the fault of the Mongol who accompanied me. He 
brought me up to within fifty yards of a herd of thirty or forty nice 
buck, but it was my own wretched marksmanship that prevented my 
securing a trophy. I shall never forget dodging from hillock to hillock, 
now creeping flat upon the sand, now running with body bent low 
behind the cover of some bushes,, and finally climbing stealthily up 
the last ridge and lying at the top to regain my breath ere I fired. 
The buck were quite unconscious of our presence, till the nearest one 
suddenly looked up and spotted me. With a peculiar sneezing noise 
it made off. The rest of the herd sprang to attention, every head 
pointed in my direction. In my anxiety to get a standing shot I fired 
wildly and missed, while the antelope broke in every direction at the 
report of my rifle. W T e tried again and again, but never got another 
chance like that, 



My second meeting with antelope was even more disappointing 
for though I succeeded in bowling over a nice buck! at about tlhree 
hundred yards range, it got up and made off before we could reach 
it. I had hit, it in the flank, but though we trailed it; for 3 several hours 
it finally escaped us altogether in some broken country. 

It was not till I got into Mongolia itself that I had any luck with 
these animals. An account of some of my experiences then will serve 
to show just what the sport is like. 

Accompanied by Mr. F. W. Warrington, who was acting as my 
assistant, I left Kalgan and took the outer road towards Lama Miao. 
On our third day out, not more than fifty miles from our starting 
point, we ran into the first herd of antelopes, and at once went after 
them. They were feeding upon the side of a hill, so we made a detour 
till we got behind another hill opposite to that on which the buck were. 
Leaving our ponies with the attendant we crept up to the top of the 
ridge, but, found that the buck were still too far off. Back to the ponies 
and round another hill we went. This time we reached a point, as 
we thought, within two hundred yards of our quarry. We each chose 
an antelope and fired. Our bullets fell short, and the next instant the 
whole herd was across the ridge and out of sight. On our way back 
to the road we came across three more; buck, but though we tried hard 
did not succeed in getting another standing shot. That afternoon we 
saw another three with nice heads. These kept running parallel with 
our course for three or four miles but. did not come within range. Next 
morning we passed several pairs without, however, getting a decent 
chance at them* The following day Warrington got his first antelope, 
while I had the misfortune to wound one which got away in spite of our 
utmost endeavour to run it down and secure it. 

At one place we stayed for a couple of days simply to hunt 
antelopes, and succeeded in getting several head. It was always the 
same tale ; either a lucky long shot on the plain or a surprise as one 
topped one of the numerous low ridges. It was splendid sport, but 
was a severe strain on the ponies, so that we could not keep it up 
too long, and if we did not succeed in getting a buck out of the first 
herd or two would have to give it up for the day. 

When within two day's journey of Lama Miao we ran into an 
enormous herd that must have contained from five hundred to one 
thousand head. It was a sight never to be forgotten, to see the whole 
plain moving as it were. T!he antelopes were very shy, and 
we could not get within four hundred yards of them. We succeeded 
in bagging a couple, however, by which time it was getting late and 


we had to hurry on after our carts, or run the risk of losing them for 
the night. 

When we got to Tabool, a place about one hundred miles north 
of Kalgan we stopped for a fortnight, and got in some good days after 
the antelopes. We were very kindly supplied with fresh mounts, a 
thing we very seriously needed by now, and were also put up and 
royally entertained by a well known missionary and his devoted wife. 

Altogether we got five antelopes while in this district. Our mode 
of procedure was to ride out. to the herd of ponies and there change 
our mounts for fresh ones. Then we would set out for one or other 
of the groups of hills that lay along the horizon. Reaching these, 
generally by midforenoon, we would climb ridge after ridge till we 
spotted a herd of buck. It may be explained that the bucks with the 
best heads were always to be found in twos and threes amongst the 
hills. Having located our quarry, we would take careful note of the 
lie of the land and the direction in which the antelopes were moving, 
We would then get out of sigfht behind the ridge and attempt to work 
round to some point of vantage. It was no easy task to decide which 
was the particular knoll that one had noted so carefully before, and 
we would frequently be disappointed in not getting within easy range 
of the animals. Still, when we did succeed in stalking and bringing 
down a nice buck it made up for a lot. 

My best head I secured after riding a couple of buck down, by 
taking full advantage of the rolling nature of the plain and urging my 
pony to its utmost speed each time they disappeared into a hollow, 
and slacking into a trot each time they reappeared. In this way I 
gradually decreased the distance between them and me, and, when they 
were within range, jumped off my pony and took a quick successful 

The beauty of this sport was that one never need give up hope 
of getting a shot, even when one had turned one's pony towards camp; 
for at any moment a buck might spring up from the long grass and 
stand a few seconds ere it broke away. Sometimes a herd would 
come sweeping by in full flight from some danger in its rear. At such 
times one might get several shots in before the antelopes realized that 
a new danger threatened them. 

Our host', who had spent the best part of fifteen years in the 
district, had many interesting anecdotes to tell, and certainly, con- 
sidering the number of antelopes we saw in the vicinity of his bung- 
alow he would have plenty of opportunity of becoming an expert with 
the rifle. His best performance was getting three bucks out of a small 


bunch of four, which he bagged with three successive shots, missing 
the fourth as it doubled round a spur. Indeed his fame as a hunter 
was great amongst the neighbouring Mongols, who were themselves 
anything but poor at the sport. 

The most accessible place for antelopes for Tientsin sportsmen 
is anywhere north from Kalgan, when they will come across them 
within thirty miles of the outer loop of the Great Wall. Autumn 
and spring would be the times to hunt these animals, for the winter 
is just a bit too severe. Still it could be managed in winter, if the 
sportsman were to buy a couple of large camel carts, which he could 
use instead of tents, only riding on his pony during the day and when 
after the antelopes. He would also get some good sand-grouse and 
hare shooting, so that a few weeks might thus be very profitably spent. 

For outfit it would be best to carry kerosene oil and a couple of 
primus stoves, plenty of flour, beans and potatoes, some good warm 
clothes and a fur sleeping bag. 

The following tips may be found useful in shooting antelopes. 
As already stated the best bucks are to be found in the hills, wheru 
also, they may be more easily stalked than on the open plain. They 
have very keen eyesight, so that it is hopeless to approach them 
without cover. Their hearing and sense of smell does not seem to be 
so good as in many animals of their kind, but one should be as silent 
as possible, and should approach the quarry up wind as matters of 
principle. Except when they are very close always allow for their 
being at a greater range than estimated; though of course as one gets 
more used to conditions one will judge the range more accurately. 
As the antelopes are very inquisitive they may be enticed to approach 
nearer by lying in the grass and waving a white rag. Tibey almost 
invariably run round one in a big circle, as though they felt that one 
were trying to cut them off from some safe refuge. Advantage may 
be taken of this to get a couple of hundred yards nearer to tihie antelope 
by riding across the circle thus executed. When it is known that an 
antelope has been wounded it should never be chased, but allowed 
to lie down and stiffen. It will not go far unless pursued. 



As most people are more or less interested in furs, it is not un- 
natural that they should wish to know something of the animals from 
which they are taken. One is often asked questions concerning the 
furs that people are wearing, and not infrequently, to avoid giving, of- 
fence, one has either to dissemble in naming them, or profess ignorance 
on the subject. As a matter of fact in no line of goods is so 
much deception practised as in furs. There are, of course, plenty of 
reputable retailers, who can be trusted to supply the genuine article. 
As a> rule the more expensive furs offered for sale are genuine enough, 
for a person who proposes laying out a large sum in this manner, is 
usually pretty careful what he buys. It is when one comes down 
to the cheaper furs that the most flagrant, frauds are encountered, as 
for instance the threading of white hairs into the skin of an ordinary 
red fox dyed black to imitate that of the silver fox, or the passing off 
of furs made up from the skins of common animals as mink, martan 
and even sable. 

I do not, however, propose to go into these deceptions, but rather 
intend to describe the real animals, and leave my fair readers to draw 
their own conclusions as to the genuineness of their furs and muffs. 

It would be much too lengthy a task to describe all the fur pro- 
ducing animals of the world, so I am going to limit my subjectj to 
the fur bearing animals of North China and the adjoining territories. 

These come under two headings; namely, those whose skins are 
used for rugs, and those whose pelts, as they are usually called by 
the trapper, are used for articles of apparel. 

The first heading includes mostly large and well known animals, 
chief amongst which is the Siberian tiger (Felts tigris longipilis). This 
animal is probably the largest of its kind, some really enormous skins 
having been secured itoin Manchuria, its true home. It is a very 


different animal from t-hat found in South China. In colour it is lighter 
than the other known races, but it is chiefly characterized by its very 
thick, almost woolly coat, which makes its skin so valuable. I saw 
one skin marked up at Tls. 400.00 in Moukden. It has long been a 
question whether tigers really exist in North China. From evidence, 
which I have gathered on the subject, I am satisfied that they do 
occur in West and North Shansi, and at least, did occur up till 
quite recently in North Chihli and across the Mongolian border in 
the Wei-chang (Hunting grounds), west of Lama Miao. 

In Manchuria and North Corea they are comparatively plentiful, 
though they are not easily secured on account of their keeping to the 
dense forest regions. The natives hunt them persistently, for a single 
tiger is worth a great deal of money. Not only is the skin pf value, 
but th<e bones fetch a high price as medicine. The tigers are trapped 
in big log pens or else shot, the hunter frequently being armed with no 
better weapon than an old gas-pipe muzzle-loader. Very often serious 
accidents are the result of this dangerous pursuit. 

Two other members of the genus Felis, whose skins make hand- 
some rugs are the leopard (Felis pardus villosd) and the snow leopard 
or ounce (Felis undo). Of these the first is found all over the hilly 
and mountainous districts of North China, being very plentiful in 
certain of the wilder regions. It has much longer fur than the leopards 
found in India, a good winter coat having hairs fully three inches in 
length. It is of a fine yellow-brown colour, strongly marked with 
black dots, which assume the form of large rosettes on the flanks and 
back. The fur of the throat, neck, chest, belly and on the inner 
surface of the legs is white. The tail in winter specimens is often 
white for the latter half of its length, and is marked with broad black 
rings. The North China species is a large animal, usually exceeding 
those seen in travelling menageries, which are almost invariably either 
from India or Africa. Many specimens taken in winter are so light 
coloured and have such thick fur that they might easily be mistaken 
for the snow leopard. 

The ounce, however, has the black markings in the form of large 
rings instead of dots or rosettes. They are not nearly so pronounced 
as the markings of the leopard, while the fur of the back and sides 
is of a very pale fawn-yellow. The skin is also very much 
more valuable. The two animals are about the same size. The ounce 
is found in Thibet,, the higher parts of the extreme western border of 
China, throughout the Altai Mountains, across Southern Siberia and 
in North Manchuria. 

Plate X. 


The next rug producing animal is the wolf, which is represented 
in China by the subspecies Canis lupus tschiliensis. This is a large 
gaunt creature, which does not pack like the Russian wolf, preferring 
to range the country alone, or in company with its mate. In size it 
about equals a mastiff or deer-hound. Though a powerful and cunning 
animal, it is inclined to be cowardly, and secures its food, especially 
in thickly populated areas, by snatching off sheep, small pigs, dogs 
and even children straying on the outskirts of the villages. When 
pressed by hunger, it will attack a grown man, even if the latter be 
armed. In some districts wolves are a great pest, and there are very 
few places entirely free from them. The skin of the North China wolf 
is not very good, being worth not more than $5.00 or $6.00. The 
skins from Mongolia, which have much thicker fur, and are considerably 
lighter in colour, are worth at least double that sum. All kinds of 
practices are resorted to in the hunting of wolves. Poison, guns and 
trap-guns are all used, while many hunters, who know the habits of 
their quarry, lie in ambush and shoot them along their chosen paths. 

Perhaps of all rugs none look so well as those made from the 
skin of a bear, with the head nicely mounted and claws outspread 
complete. Unfortunately North China cannot lay claim to being a 
bear country, thought there are three or four species recorded from 
adjacent districts, some of which may wander into or even take up 
their residence hi Chinese territory. On the Thibetan frontier there 
are at least three species to be met with. One of these is the com- 
mon brown bear (Ursus. arctos), which ranges from Spain to Kams- 
chatka. Bears of this species attain a great size, even rivalling the 
grizzly or the polar bear. Another common species in this region is 
the Himalayan black bear (Ursus torquatus), a much smaller animal. 
As the name suggests this species is black but it has a conspicuous 
white crescent on its chest. The third species is the parti-coloured 
bear (Aeluropus melanoleucus) sometimes known as the great, panda. 
This queer looking animal, though a bear in appearance, differs from 
the members of the genus Ursus in many ways. Its skull is remark- 
able for a very high ridge running longitudinally along the upper sur 
face of the cranium. There are also marked dental differences, and 
the width of the skull is proportionately much greater than in the true 
bears. The colouring of the panda is also very remarkable. The body 
and head are white, the legs and belly black, while a black band ex- 
tends from the front legs over the shoulders. The ears are black and 
there is a large black patch round each eye. These animals are very 
rare in collections, and are not at all easy to secure. Practically no- 
thing is known of their habits. 


In Manchuria there is a black bear that is very common. It 
closely resembles the Himalayan black bear, but' differs in having a 
white chin. The natives say that there is another kind with a broad 
band of white or grey over the shoulders. I am told that this is also 
the case on the Thibetan frontier, but. am inclined to think that they 
are only variations of the black bears. 

From the bears to the badger, the next, animal we have to con- 
sider, is not a far cry. The skin of this animal is too thick, and the 
hairs too 1 stiff for it to be used except in rugs, and in the manufacture 
of shaving brushes. A nice badger skin rug is very pretty, but it is 
of more value to the Chinese than to Europeans, the former appreciat- 
ing its damp resisting qualities. They use it to spread on their brick 
hangs or in carts. The Manchurian hunters all wear nicely dressed 
badger skins hanging from their belts at the back, in which position 
they are always ready to form a dry seat. There are several species 
of badger found in China, at least four of which are recorded from 
the north. 

The commonest, and most widely distributed species is Meles 
leptorhynchus , originally described from Peking. It has also been 
recorded from North Shensi, and I have seen specimens from Shansi 
as well. Two other species of this genus are recorded from further 
west. These are M. hanensis and M. siningensis, and they differ but 
slightly from the Peking form. A fourth species, belonging to the 
badger family is the sand-badger (Arctonyx leucolcemus) , also from 
Peking. The members of this genus differ from those of the preceeding 
one in having very much longer tails, and in walking more on their 
toes than on the flat of the foot. They have longer snouts and there 
are distinct skull differences. A subspecies has recently been des- 
cribed from South Shensi under the name of A. I. arestes. 

Under our present heading I must briefly mention the names of 
two, ruminants, whose skins are used as rugs. These are the goral 
and the antelope. The skin of the latter are even used to make clothes 
by the Chinese along the Mongolian border. As I am dealing with 
these animals elsewhere I need not describe them here. 

Under our second heading, which includes those animals whose 
skins are used as articles of apparel, we have to consider a number 
of species belonging to widely differing genera. 

If these are taken in the order of their respective importance as 
fur producers, the weasel family must, come first. Of the members 
o this large family the sable (Maries zibellina) is certainly the most 
valuable. This pretty creature is closely related to the pine-marten, 
the only apparent difference being in its having longer and softer fur. 

Plate XL 


The colour of the sable varies from blackish-brown to chocolate and 
even grey-brown. The under fur is usually grey. There is an orange- 
yellow patch on the throat. ' The sable is found in Siberia and Man- 
churia. The so-called Sze-chuan sable is really the pine-marten (M. 
martes), which is also found in Manchuria. The maximum value of 
a single sable skin is 25, while that of a marten seldom reaches 5. 

The next species of importance is the stoat or ermine (Mustela 
erminea), which certainly used to inhabit North Ghana, and probably 
may still be found in some districts. These animals are so shy, and so 
purely nocturnal in their habits that they may easily be in a district 
without its being known to the inhabitants. The ermine is really little 
more than a large weasel, and it is only valuable when in its winter coat. 
The summer pelt is of a rich chocol'ate-brown with sulphur-yellow 
underparts. The hair is not long, but is beautifully soft. 

I have recently secured a fine specimen of a stone or beech marten 
(Martes /oma), which has a very beautiful fur, almost rivalling that 
of the sable. It is an inhabitant of the mountainous regions of North 
Shansi, and is comparatively rare. The fur is of a fine grey-brown 
colour on the outside, the under fur being almost white. The tail 
is long and very bushy. There is a white patch on the throat, and 
white tips to the ears. The Chinese name is Sao-shueh. 

The Chinese minks are not^early so valuable as their European and 
North American cousins (Mustela lutreola and M. vison). Of these two 
the latter is the more valuable. Minks are found in Tientsin, the local 
species being known as M. davidiana. The Shansi and Shensi forms 
are referrable to M. sibirica. In Shansi a very much smaller species 
also exists, which is closely related to M. astuta. The latter 
occurs in Western Kansu and in Thibet. Minks are always 
more plentiful round marshes. Their skins are exported in great num- 
bers under the name of weasel. The colour is a fine orange-buff in- 
clined to chestnut. It is much lighter than that of the American 

In connection with this subject it would be as well to mention 
a few other members of the weasel family found in North China, though 
their fur is of little value. Commonest of these is the yellow throated 
marten (Martes flavigula borealis). This is much the larg-est of the Chi- 
nese weasels, exceeding a full grown cat in size. It has a very long tail. 
In colour it is of a grey-brown above with black head, tail, legs and belly. 
It has a large bright, yellow patch on the throat, which in some specimens 
continues in a yellow-grey band right round the neck. The fur is coarse 
and not very long. Of a fierce and blood-thirsty disposition, this 
s 7 


marten commits serious depredations in the poultry yards of 
the districts it frequents. It is common in all mountainous and loess 
regions, especially in North Shensi. 

The next species is the polecat which is found from Shansi west- 
ward. The colour of this animal varies considerably according to 
the season. In summer it is of a rich brown, the hairs being much 
lighter at the base than the tip. In winter the fur changes till it- 
is almost white, and only the tips of the longest hairs retain their 
dark brown or black. The face has a broad black band across the 
eyes, the nose and upper part of the head being white. The ears are 
black with white tips. These animals, being easily tamed, are used 
for ratting by the Chinese. Two species occur in North China, namely, 
Mustela larvata from Kansu and M. tiarata from West and North 
Shansi. The Chinese name is* Sao hu-tze, (Ermine fox). 

Another most interesting animal, related to polecat is the vormela 
(Vormela neyans), which was discovered by me on the borders of the 
Ordos Desert. The species is remarkable for its colouring. The head 
is banded with black and white; the nape is pale-yellow with brown 
markings. The yellow colour extends along the back, getting richer 
till it merges into orange on the flanks and rump. The whole is 
spotted with brown. The throat, belly and legs are of a shiny black. 
The tail is long and of a yellow colour, being black at the 
tip. The ears are tufted and are white in colour. This peculiar 
animal inhabits the sandy Ordos Desert, its range probably extending 
westward into Central Asia, where it is replaced by the only other 
known species Vormela peregusna. 

One other member of this family should be mentioned, namely 
the weasel itself (Mustela sp. incon.). I have known of its existence 
in North China for years, but have hitherto been unable to secure a 
specimen. Last summer I got, one specimen in Manchuria, and I hava 
seen others from Sze-chuan. The Manchurian specimen is of a rich 
chocolate colour above and pure white beneath ; those from Sze-chuan 
are chocolate above and pinkish-buff below. These creatures are much 
the smallest' of the Chinese mustelines, being only seven or eight 
inches in length, and very slender in shape. They frequent woody 
areas, and are apparently very rare. 

The wolverine (Gulo lusc,us) is another member of the weasel 
family, whose pelt has a good market value. This animal is not at 
all like any of the weasels in appearance. It is about the size of a bull- 
dog, is very heavily and powerful built, and is extremely savage and 

Plate XII. 


voracious. The fur is long, thick and soft, and of a pretty brown 
colour. The glutton, as it is more often called, is not/ found in China, 
but occurs in Manchuria and Northern Mongolia. 

Lastly there is the otter (Lutra sp. incon.), which is found in 
Kansu, South Shensi and Manchuria. The fur of this animal is very 
valuable, and compares favourably with those from other countries. 
The otter is top well known to need description. 

The cat tribe is not well represented in North China, though the 
few species that do occur all yield good furs. The best of these is the 
isabelline lynx (Felis isabellina), which is found on the Thibetan 
frontier. The fur of this animal is of a fine fawn-grey or grey-brown 
colour, and is thick and soft. A good lynx skin fetches Tls. 9.00 in 
Lan-chow Fu, but it is worth much more in the European market. 
The lynx is a savage cat-like animal, characterized by having 
tufts of hair at the tips of the ears, and long hair depending from 
either cheek like side- whiskers. It has a short tail, from which fact 
it gets its American name of bob-cat. It has enormous soft paws, 
and rather long hind legs, which makes it stand high in the stern. 
The lynx is also found in Northern Mongolia and on the Siberian 

The spotted cat (Felis chinensis) is another animal which yields 
a good pelt. The fur of this cat is soft, and silky and of a fawn-grey 
colour. It is covered all over with dark brown spots, giving it the 
appearance of a miniature leopard's skin. The tail is thick and an- 
nulated with black. 

A cat, closely related to this species is the manul (Felis manul) 
from Mongolia. It differs in having hardly any spots. It occurs in 
North Chihli and North Shansi. 

The common wild cat (Felis cattus) is also found in China. Its 
pelt is exactly like that of a good grey tabby, which animal it most 
resembles. It is slightly larger, however, and has a considerably 
shorter tail. 

The next species is so important that a complete paper might be 
devoted to it. I refer to the common fox (Vulpes vulpes), which 
ranges from the west of Europe to the East of Asia. Probably more 
fox skins, are sent out of Tientsin than of any other wild animal. The 
Chinese also value them highly, for, as every one knows, they make 
excellent fur coats. There is no part of North China where foxes are 
not found. A fox with a much darker fur is found in Manchuria, 
while a small species (Cam's corsac) with soft yellow-grey fur comes 
from Outer Mongolia and Chinese Turkestan. Still further north occurs 


the Arctic fox (Canis lagopus), from which the valuable white skins are 

As far as I know there is no export trade in mole skins from 
North China. This is doubtless due to the great scarcity of moles 
Three species belonging to the genus Scaptochirus are recorded from 
North China, but these animals are nowhere common. 

Judging from the great number of rodents found in the country, 
one might reasonably expect to find that at least some of them yielded 
valuable furs. As a matter of fact the marmot (Marmotd robusta) and 
the grey squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) are the only two rodents in North 
China, which have valuable pelts, and these only occur in the extreme 
west, along the frontier of Thibet and Chinese Turkestan, and in Man- 
churia and Eastern Mongolia. There are a great many varieties of 
the grey or fur squirrel. They range in colour from red to dark grey. 
In many districts they are red in summer and grey in winter. The 
common squirrel of Great Britain belongs to this species. 

The marmot is a very large member of its genus. The Chinsse 
name is Ta la, or Han ta (Lit. Land otter), and in East Mongolia 
Tarabagan. I am told that far fewer marmot skins reach Tientsin 
now than formerly. It was this animal that was credited with spread- 
ing the pneumonic plague, through the agency of its fleas, as is the 
case with the common rat in Bombay and elsewhere. This may 
account for the falling off in the numbers of skins on the market. 



UNDER the heading of Insectivorous Mammals we have to con- 
sider a few animals belonging to the two orders Chiroptera and 
Insectivora. The first of these includes the bats; the second such 
small insect-eating animals as the shrews, moles and hedgehogs. 

There are a great many different kinds of bats, ranging from the 
large fruit bats or flying foxes of tropical climes to the little pipistrelles 
and miniopteras of more temperate regions. Some are very beautiful 
creatures, while others, such as the naked bat and the hammer-headed 
bat, even the most, ardent adorers of nature's creations could only des- 
cribe as loathsomely hideous. Indeed, to many people, especially to 
the members of the fair sex, there is something indescribably obnoxious 
and terrifying in the most harmless species of this great group of highly 
developed and specialized mammals. This is doubtless due to the fact 
tli at certain South American species of bats subsist upon the blood of 
other mammals, being, literally blood-suckers. These have been called 
vampires, a name which at once calls up stories of horrible blood-sucking 
phantoms belonging to the superstitious myths of our forefathers of the 
German Forests. Then, too, the facts that evil spirits in European 
legendry are nearly always depicted as having bat's wings, and also that 
the habits of the bat are nocturnal, have tended to class it along with 
owls, black cats, toads and ravens as a creature of darkness. In our 
childhood's fancies it belongs to the world of sprites and hobgoblins, and 
it would seem that many of us never entirely outgrow our dislike for 
these harmless little animals. 

It is strange, too, that the Chinese look upon the bat as a thing of 
evil. They say it has an evil spirit, and never lose an opportunity of sub- 
jecting it to cruel torture. 

As a matter of fact there are few animals that are prettier to watch 
or that make more interesting pets than bats. There is so much that, is 
wonclorful about them. They seem to have a sixth sense that warns them 
when they are in the vicinity of any object, for in a room full of ornaments 


and bric-a-brac, even in daylight when they are practically blind, they 
c:vn flitter about without so much as brushing a single article with their 
outspread wings. And what a wonderful membrane it is that stretches 
over, those long bony fingers \ Then there is a lot of profitable study 
awaiting the investigator into the problems of migration, hibernation, 
the varying altitudes at which different species feed, and the hours of 
the night, during which they are abroad. 

Who amongst true nature lovers has not sat in the cool of a sum- 
mer evening, and watched with untold delight the marvellous evolu- 
tions, circlings, turns, dives and soarings of bats in the gathering 
gloom? Who has not wondered at that high pitched squeak? It is 
a fact that the voices of some bats are so high that no human ear 13 
attuned to a sufficiently high pitch to catch' the sound, just as amongst 
some frogs the croak is so far down the scale, that when they ere 
placed in a bottle one may feel the vibrations without hearing any 

Then, too, how interesting to see the mother carrying her baby 
about with her, the little helpless thing knowing only enough to cling 
to the soft fur of her breast. 

Altogether there are some five or six species of bats described 
from North China, though a great many more are to be found in the 
central and southern provinces of this country. 

Over the greater part, of the north only three species are at all 
common. These are the serotine (Eptesicus serotinus pallens) and two 
other small species known as Miniopterus schreibersi chinensis and 
Myotis (Leuconae) pequinius. 

Of these the serotine is by far the commonest. It is the largest 
bat found in North China. It may be seen everywhere during the 
warmer months, but is most plentiful in the higher country westward 
from the border of Chihli. It is of a brown colour, having none of the 
peculiar membranous nose-leaves and facial decorations characteristic 
of so many bats. The sub-species was described as new from specimens 
taken by me while on the Clark Expedition in Kansu. It differs from 
the European form in being! of a distinctly lighter colour, with a longer 
forearm and a shorter, broader skull. It hides during the day in loess 
cliffs, coming out in the evenings to feed, flying at comparatively great 

Miniopterus schreibersi chinensis was first described from speci- 
mens taken in some caves in the mountains west of Peking, where it 

Plate XIII. 

THE KANSU POLECAT. (Must el a larvatd). 

Photo by Captain T. Holconib. 

NORTH SHAN si HARES. (Lepus siuinhvei sowerbyae). 


was found in great numbers. This bat is somewhat smaller than the 
foregoing species, but in other external characteristics is very similar. 
It is darker in colour, however. Being exceedingly plentiful in Tien- 
tsin, it may be seen any evening from early spring till late in the 
autumn. It is the commonest species in these parts. 

Myotis (Leuconae) pequinius was described from exactly the same 
locality as the foregoing species, having been taken in fact, at the same 
time. This is a bat of a grey coloun, also without .any facial frillings. 
It occurs all over North China, especially in the more mountainous 

When in Kansu I secured specimens of a very small bat, which 
was identified as belonging to the genus Pipistrellus, though its species 
was not determined. It was of a dark colour and had no facial mem- 
branous growths. 

Besides these more or less common forms, we have in Chihli a 
horse-shoe bat (RMnolophus fenum-equinum nippon). Its name is 
derived from the peculiar membranous nose-leaf, which is roughly the 
shape of a horse's shoe. In England the horse-shoe bat is compara- 
tively common, but its eastern representative seems to be rather rare, 
at least in North China. The same species occurs in Japan, where it 
seems to be more plentiful. In size it about equals the serotine, but 
is somewhat lighter in colour. 

The long-eared bat (Plecotus sp.) is also to be found, though it seems 
to be rather rare. I have only seen one, and that was in Shansi. 
Whether the species found in North China is identical with Plecotus 
ariel, recently described from Szechuan I cannot say. 

One other bat, of which I have seen but one specimen, and the 
name of which I do not know, is worthy of notice. This is a large 
bat with a peculiar orange-yellow coat. It occurs in Shansi, but seems 
to be very rare. Except for the remarkable colouring it is not unlike 
the serotine. 

It is more than likely that there are other species, hitherto un- 
known to science, occurring in North China. The order is one of the 
least known in this country, owing, doubtless, to the difficulty experi- 
enced by collectors in securing even such specimens as they see. 

The order Insectivora is very poorly represented in North China. 
This is doubtless due to the general dryness of the climate, for in the 
neighbouring regions of Central and West China, Manchuria and 
Japan, where there is an abundance of rain, and where, in consequence, 
such lower forms of life as worms, snails and insect larvae are very 
plentiful, there is a great variety of shrews, moles and other related 


Such forms, as are found in the districts which come under cur 
heading, have evidently become adapted to a dry climate and surround- 
ings, some being found even in such places as the Ordos Desert. 

One of the animals, best known to every English school boy is the 
hedgehog. Probably most of us have kept one or more of these in- 
teresting creatures in captivity at some time or other. In North China 
there are some four species described, being found in very widely sep- 
arated areas. In Tientsin and on the Chihli plain generally occurs a 
hedgehog, which in general appearance closely resembles that of Europe. 
The two are about equal in size. The Chihli species was first described 
under the name of Erinaceus dealbatus by Swinhoe from a specimen 
from Peking. Amongst other characteristics it has a certain proportion 
of wholly white spines. The same species occurs in Northern Shan- 
tung, though by one observer the animal from this district was des- 
cribed as distinct. 

Hitherto no hedgehog has been described from Shansi, but across 
the Yellow River in Shensi and the Ordos two species occur. Of these 
the Ordos form), E. miodon was described from specimens secured by 
M. P. Anderson and myself in 1908. The chief distinguishing features 
of this species are some dental differences, and the fact that there are 
no wholly white spines present. This hedgehog is fairly common in 
the sandy areas, where it feeds upon black-beetles, as shown by the 
examination of the stomachs of several specimens. 

From the Ordos Border to the Wei Valley the hedgehog is again 
wanting, but in the latter district it reappears under the name of E. 
hughi. This species is very much darker in colour than the Ordos form, 
a characteristic that one might expect, considering the different sur- 

E. hanensis is another species described by Matschie from some- 
where in this direction. It has a fair sprinkling of wholly white spines. 

When in Manchuria I secured a hedgehog, doubtless E. orien- 
talis, in the forests on the banks of the Sungaree River. This specimen 
had a good proportion of wholly white spines. 

It. might be imagined that so prickly a customer as the hedgehog 
could have but few enemies, but judging from the number of remains 
I have found, it would seem that it has a good many. It is well known 
that a fox will tackle and kill a hedgehog. In so doing he pushes his 
nose under the hedgehog and tosses it into the air. This makes the 
hedgehog uncurl, and, before it can curl up again, the fox has nipped it 
in the unprotected vitals. In Europe the gypsies are notoriously fond 
of hedgehog flesh. I found this to be the case with the woodsmen in 
Manchuria. In both cases the animal is prepared for food by encasing 


it in a coating of mud and baking it in the embers of a wood fire. When 
done the spines, hair and skin adhere to the clay, leaving a very tooth- 
some morsel of beautifully cooked meat. 

In Chihli hedgehogs are looked upon as sacred animals by the 
Chinese, and so are not molested. On the contrary, little shrines 
are often built for them. 

In the matter of shrews these provinces are excessively poorly 
represented, at least very few specimens have been recorded. In Chihli 
two species have been found. These are Corcidura coreoe and Chod- 
sigoa hypsibia. Members of the genus Crocidura may easily by recog- 
nized from the fact that the tails, besides having the usual covering 
of very short hairs, also have a sprinkling of long stiff ones. The other 
genera of shrews have only the short hairs. The Crocidurce are further 
distinguishable by the presence of glands, one on each side of the body, 
which are more or less odoriferous and probably give these animals their 
name of musk shrews. 

THE MUSKSHREW (Crocidura coreae'). 

Crocidura coreae as yet has not been definitely located in any 
other part of North China than Chihli, in which province a specimen 
was taken at the Eastern Tombs. It was originally described from 
Corea. Three young shrews secured by me in Shansi have been re- 
ferred to this species, but their age render the diagnosis uncertain. 
My specimens were of a distinct slate-grey, while C. coreae was describ- 
ed as greyish-brown. Age would of course account for this difference. 

Chodsigoa hypsibia was originally described as Soriculus hypsibia 
from North-western Szechuan. Whether a shrew, the remains of 
which I found on a rock in West Shansi is referrable to this species 
or not I could not say. They were too far decomposed to preserve. 

In the extreme south-western portion of Kansu, bordering the 
richly faunistic area of Western Szechuan, Milne-Edwards' little shrew 
Crocidura attenuata occurs, having been but recently recorded. Here 
also a new species belonging to the genus Sorex has been discovered 
recently. This is Sorex wardi, which was named in honour of its 
s 8 


discoverer. It is closely related to S. cylindricauda from .Szechuan, 
which is remarkable in having a black stripe down the back. /S. 
wardi has this stripe, but it is not so distinct. 

S. sinalis and S. cansulus are other recent discoveries in these 
parts, as also are Chodsigoa lamula and Blarinella grisella. 

Milne-Edwards described a watershrew from Eastern Thibet, not 
far from this same district, but so far nothing of the kind has been 
found in North China. 

In Manchuria last summer I secured specimens of a large black 
musk-shrew, belonging to the genus Crocidura. The scent glands on 
the side of the body were very pronounced, while the odour from the 
shrew, which, as far as I could make out, emanated from these glands, 
was very strong. I could detect it some yards away. There is some 
question as to whether this strong odour is protective, and in this con- 
nection I can only quote from the natives. They told me in the dis- 
trict where I trapped the specimens that cats would not touch these 
shrews, while one man volunteered the information that in a certain 
valley not far from this vicinity, the settlers could not keep any cats, 
because they would kill and eat these shrews and get poisoned. The 
two statements somewhat conflict but I am inclined to place credence 
in the former, as a cat belonging to a neighbouring farmer continually 
brought in voles and mice, but never once brought in a shrew, though 
she hunted in exactly the spots where I trapped my specimens. The 
mortality amongst the cats of the neighbouring valley was probably 
due to some other cause. 

THE MOLE (ScaptochiruB gilliesi). 

As. far as I can gather only four species of moles have been des- 
cribed from the whole of North 1 China. Three of these belong 1 to thfe 
genus Scaptochirus. The largest is 8. Upturns first described from 
Peking. This mole is peculiar chiefly on account of the tail, which is 
club-shaped and almost bare. In external appearance it resembles the 
common British species, except that the fur is greyer. 


The second species occurs in Mongolia and is called 8. moachatus, 
while the third /S. gilliesi was recently described as new 
from a specimen from South Shansi. Previous to this I had 
secured a specimen in Tai-yuan Fu, and another on the 
Ordos Border. Subsequently I secured several specimens from 
Western Shansi. It seems to have adapted itself to an existence under 
more or less desert conditions, in which there certainly cannot be any 
abundance of worms. It must therefore live upon beetle larvae or some 
such food. The fourth species belongs to a new genus, discovered on 
the Fenwick-Owen expedition in South- Western Kansu. This is 
Scapanulus oweni, a rather small 'mole, resembling none of the other 
species found in China. In Manchuria, Corea, Japan and Central and 
Western China moles of many genera and species are very plentiful. 



IN flat country like that around Tientsin and Peking many sports- 
men consider it almost a sin to shoot hares, for they offer so much 
better sport when pursued on horse-back with greyhounds. Still there 
is something to be said for the shooting of hares by the man who 
cannot afford to keep ponies and hounds. From a purely humanitarian 
point of view shooting hares might be preferred to chasing them. 
However, I do not wish to turn this paper into a discussion upon the 
rival merits of the two sports, so shall do no more than describe both. 

First, however, it would be well to describe the species and sub- 
species of the genus Lepus. The hare found round Shanghai is known 
as Lepus sinensis. Recently a new species has been described from 
Northern Kiangsi under the name of Lepus aurigineus. Which of 
these two species inhabits Anhui and South Shantung has not been 
determined, but the hare from these parts certainly differs from that 
found in North Shantung, and Chihli, which is known, as Lepus 

In North Szechuan and in Kansu another species is found, namely 
Lepus sechuenensis ; while the hare of Shensi and the Ordos is a 
subspecies of the Shantung hare, called Lepus swinhoei subluteus. 
In Shansi the genus is represented by another subspecies which was 
called Lepus swinhoei soweTbyas in honour of my wife, who accom- 
panied me on the journey during which this new variety was discovered. 
The hare of South Mongolia is known as Lepus tolai, which is replaced 
in the Altai Mountains by yet another species called Lepus quercus. 

The European hare is known as Lepus europ&us, and is identical 
with the common English form. The Scotch, or mountain hare, 
which turns white in winter is classed as a distinct species under the 
name of Lepus variabilis. The hares in Ireland belong to either one 
or the other of these last two species. 

This is a jaw breaking list for the ordinary reader to wade through 
jand my advice to him is, forget it I The uninitiated would find it 

Plate XIV. 


hard indeed to distinguish between any of these species, the varia- 
tions being only such as a Zoologist would appreciate. From a sport- 
ing point of view they are all alike. They all run in the same way, 
dodge about in the underbrush, or sit tight, letting the sportsman step 
right over them without moving. 

Hare shooting under ordinary conditions is liable to prove some- 
what tame sport. Compared with almost any bird on the wing a 
hare running in the open offers an easy mark. It seldom breaks cover 
out of easy range, and is also very easily killed or disabled. It is 
only where there is plenty of thick cover, or in very rough or moun- 
tainous country that the sport really begins to get interesting. Then 
it is that the hare shows to advantage its wonderful dodging powers, 
so that frequently even good sEots are beaten. With its sharp, sud- 
den turns, short, quick leaps over, and dives under the scrub it 
presents a very baffling mark. 

Like the partridge the hare, in China at least, is usually taken, 
as chance offers, in the chase of other game. It invariably abounds 
in good pheasant country and forms a pleasant diversion by getting 
up in all sorts of unexpected places. 

An interesting method of hunting the hare in flat country is to 
shoot it from horseback. This gives it a better chance, and also 
allows of a good cross country run, for the hare, if missed once, can 
be followed and put up again and again. We used frequently to 
practice this sport on the Tai-yuan Fu plain, as no one was fortunate 
enough to own any hounds. 

One hare, which we named Lucky Alphonso because he always 
escaped us, once gave me a splendid run. A party of us put him 
up in the usual grass patch that he occupied. We missed him as usual 
and then set out after him, as he raced away over the ploughed fields. 
A flock of geese attracted the attentions of my companions, who gave 
up the chase, but Alphonso had eluded me so often that I was deter- 
mined to get him. He entered a kaoliang patch, from which I drove 
him. In another half mile he sought the refuge of some 
low sage brush, but again I got him going. Once more he 
found cover, and was driven out. This time he headed straight for 
the river and dived in. Next moment I saw his head above the eddies 
as he bravely swam for the opposite shore. I rode up to the bank 
and stood watching him. Suddenly, when nearly across, ho changed 
his mind, and, turning back, came straight towards me. He reached 
the bank, dragged himself out, shook the water from his coat, and 
lopped off. I had not the heart to shoot him then, and as far as I 


know Lucky Alphonso still inhabits the grass patch on the left bank 
of the Fen Ho. 

As already intimated, coursing after hare with greyhounds is, 
to many minds, the most sporting method of hunting them. In com- 
pany with a party of fellow devotees one goes out to the appointed 
place in a wagonette or by train, as the case may be. Here the 
ponies are waiting, and mounting these, the sportsmen spread out in a 
line and ride forward. All except two of the hounds are kept in leash 
behind the riders. Suddenly a hare jumps up and the two free hounds 
give chase. A wild scurry ensues, the riders taking ditches and mounds 
as they present themselves, while the hounds and hare stretch out in 
a race for life. The latter usually heads for graves, where perchance 
it may go to earth in some badger hole, or elude its pursuers by doub- 
ling amongst the hommocks. It is the business of the hounds to catch 
the hare before it reaches the desired haven. Therein lies the chief 
excitement, though the cross country run is liable to prove harrowing 
enough, for your China pony does not always take the jump when 
he is expected to, and loves nothing better than to dump his rider 
into a ditch. To the man with a sense of humour, the antics of the 
hounds, when a hare suddenly disappears, will prove very diverting. 
The Chihli hare is a fine runner and often escapes its pursuers, so that 
general satisfaction follows a pretty kill on the part of the hounds. 

Last, but not least, the sumptuous luncheon provided for the 
occasion is a very attractive part of the days outing. Some say that 
the numerous cocktails indulged in have most to do with the success 
of the proceedings, and form the real attraction of the sport. Per- 
haps they do to some, but on the whole, a day behind the greyhounds 
is well spent, and is as healthy and enjoyable a form of recreation as 
there is. 

Unfortunately this form of sport is not what it used to be to 
judge from the accounts of exciting runs and wonderful kills, told by 
the old stagers. It is a fact, however, that hares are not nearly so 
numerous as they were, and those that remain are both fast and cun- 
ning, so that the percentage of kills is very much lower than it was. 
The difficulty in securing fresh hounds, and also of keeping in health 
those already brought out from home, further tends to prevent the 
sport from becoming very universal. 

There is one other method of hunting the hare, and that is with 
hawks. This is undoubtedly the most sporting of all, though it is 
seldom, if ever, practised by Europeans, It used to be very popular 
with the Manchus, and is still kept up by Chinese hunters, who find 


it an economical way of securing game for the market. Its chief draw- 
back is the time and trouble which must be expended in training the 
hawks. These must be thoroughly tamed and require attention night 
and day. The training takes place at night in a quiet place, where 
there are no noises and sights to disturb the birds. 

The gerfalcon is the best bird for the pursuit of the hare, though 
the goshawk and peregrine falcon may also be used. 

When the bird, or birds, are thoroughly trained, a party of half 
a dozen beaters, including the owners of the hawks, sally forth into the 
fields and drive through the scrub and brush. As soon as a hare 
breaks cover one of the hawks is released and thrown into the air. 
It has already caught sight of the quarry and with rapid wing-beats 
soon overtakes it. Swooping down it deals a blow with its talons (not, 
as popularly supposed, with its beak). If this proves insufficient to stun 
the hare, it repeats the mano3uvre, or else grasps it and pins it to the 
frarth. A good hawk, however, usually kills its quarry at the first 
stroke. Then the beaters hurry up in order to prevent the hare's being 
torn up, for the hawk has been kept in a state of hunger previous 
to being used. 

Some hunters use their hawks to chase pheasants and partridges 
as well. In these cases the peregrine is the best bird to use. 

Hares are prevalent everywhere in North China, though, of course, 
they are more plentiful in some places than others. South Mongolia 
simply swarms with them, chiefly round the encampments. Some 
travellers have put this down to the fact that the camp dogs keep 
away wolves and foxes. In my travels in that country I have noticed 
that the camps are always pitched, if possible, near streams or lakes 
of sweet water. It so happens that these spots afford the only really 
good cover in the form of tall thickly growing sedgegrass. It is my 
opinion that the hares seek the slielter of this cover rather than 
the protection of the camp dogs. Hares are not found round camps 
pitched in the open, where there is none of this cover; 
while where there is dover of this nature hares are always 
present in large numbers camp or no camp. Of course 
additional protection is added by the presence of the camp dogs, which 
are usually much too slow to catch the hares themselves. 

In the Ordos Desert we also found hares extremely plentiful, and 
also in North Shansi and Eastern Kansu. They are very numerous 
on the plains of Northern and Western Shansi. 

The hare does not live in burrows, though in China it may seek 
shelter from pursuit in the burrows of badgers and holes in graves. 


It has what is known as a "form," a little sheltered hollow in which 
it lies up. A hare uses the same "form" for a considerable time, and 
when put up will invariably return to it, after making a long circuit. 

Some will lie very close in these "forms." Once, when out shoot- 
ing with my wife on the Tai-yuan plain, I came upon a hare lying in 
its "form" in an open field of stubble. Standing right over it I called 
my wife and the coolie carrying our cartridges to come and have a look. 
The hare remained perfectly still till we had had a good look at it, and 
then only ran when I touched it with my foot. 

Another incident of a similar nature occurred near the same place 
a few days later. Four of us were working through some scrub, look- 
ing for quail, partridges and hare. Suddenly one of the coolies called 
us back, and pointed to a large hare lying at his feet. This one also 
required a touch of the foot before it broke away. 

From two to five young are born in a litter, the pretty little crea- 
tures being perfect in shape and able to run about at once. Several 
litters are produced in a year, and as they may appear very early in 
the season and also very late, not infrequently cause searchings of 
heart on the part of the sportsman, who inadvertantly shoots a doe 
with young. The only way to avoid this is to note carefully before 
pulling whether the hare is moving smartly with quick turns and long 
jumps, or listlessly with a comparatively slow lopping gait. 

In winter hares love warm sunny banks, and will lie out on sparse- 
ly covered hill-sides facing south, but in summer they seek the cool 
and shelter of the densest thorn scrub; while in cultivated country 
they may nearly always be found in the family grave patches that are 
scattered amongst the ploughed fields. 

They range from sea level up to eight or ten thousand feet, can 
withstand extremes of temperature, and find food in the scantiest 
harbage of the desert, as easily as in the luxurious vegetation of sub- 
tropical forests. They, like all rodents, form what scientists call a 
successful race, and will long exist to give sport to the hunter and 
joy to the gourmand. 



EVERY one is familiar with the common rat and the equally com- 
mon house-mouse, but few realize that these pests have a host of 
cousins, some of which are extremely grotesque, others remarkably 
graceful, but one and all well worth studying. 

Rodentia is the largest mammalian order. It contains the 
greatest number of species and individuals. All the members of the 
order are characterized by the possession of chisel-like incisor teeth, 
two in the upper and two in the lower jaw. There are neither canine 
teeth nor premolars, a gap occurring between the two incisors and the 

In shape and size there is an infinite variation, though the largest 
rodents are the Patagonian cavies, (about the size of a small sheep) 
and the carpinchos (about the size of a small hog), also -South American 

The order is divided into numerous families, and in a short paper 
like this one cannot hope to tackle them all. We will therefore con- 
fine our remarks to the mouse-like rodents of North China. Here I 
must ask the reader to allow me some laxity in my definition of 
North China. Suppose we take the 33rd paralled of latitude as mark- 
ing the dividing line between North and Central China. I am forced 
to make this very arbitrary division in order to include certain species 
which undoubtedly belong to the North China fauna, and yet whose 
habitat is rather far south. The Zoologist is continually being faced 
with these difficulties in determining the true boundaries of faunistic 
areas, for species merge so imperceptibly! into each other, that it is 
often quite impossible to state where one ends and the other begins. 

This division will give us plenty to think about, as will be seen 
before I get to the end of this paper. 

Under this heading we have the jerboas (jumping or kangaroo 
rats), the gerbils (sand rats), the hamsters (pouched rats), the voles 
(field and water rats), the true rats and mice, and the molerats (under- 
ground rats). 

8 9 



Before discussing the jerboas, a small jumping mouse must be men- 
tioned. It is called Zapus setchuanus vicinus, and occurs in South- 
western Kansu, but so far none have been recorded elsewere in North 
China. There are three other species found in Szechuan. 

THE ORDOS JERBOA (Dipus sowerbyi). 

The most striking jerboa is the Ordos jerboa (Dipus sowerbyi), 
which was discovered by me in 1908 in the Ordos Desert, This animal 
is about five inches long in the body, and has very long hind legs, 
very short front legs and a long tail with a fine tuft ati the tip like 
an arrow feather. In colour it is of a sandy yellow with white belly 
and rump. Its chief characteristic is that it has only three toes on 
the hind foot. It lives in burrows in the sand, progresses by means 
of enormous jumps, sometimes eight feet in length, and feeds upon the 
seeds and tender shoots of the sage brush. It is easily tamed and 
makes a splendid pet, playing and skipping about the room without 
the least sign of fear. The Chinese name is Tiao-er (Jumper). 

The other species is the alactaga (Alactagn mongolica), which 
inhabits Inner Mongolia and parts of North Chihli and Shansi. The 
animal is somewhat larger than the Ordos jerboa, has very much longer 
ears, is of a greyer colour, and has five instead of three toes on the 
hind feet. Otherwise the two species are very much alike, and have 
similar habits, except that the alactaga lives in grassy country. 

The third form (Alactaga mongolica longior) was discovered by me 
in Kansu, and it is a subspecies of that from Mongolia. It differs only 


in having a slightly longer ear and a longer hind foot. The Chinese 
call these animals Tiao-tu-tzu (Jumping hare), the Mongol name be- 
ing alactahai." 

Between the jerboas and our next group comes a rat-like animal 
known as Sicista concolor. The only specimens in North China occur 
in South-west Kansu. 

Closely related to the jerboas come the gerbils or sand rats. 
These beautiful little creatures may be found in the sandy deserts of 
Asia and Africa, and are characterized by their hairy tails, sandy 
colour and big black eyes. They, have large hind feet and can jump 
well, though they have not developed along this line nearly as far as 
have the jerboas. They live in large colonies, and make extensive 
warrens like those of the rabbit. 

In China and the adjacent areas of Mongolia there are three 
species belonging to this genus. Of these Meriones auceps is the 
largest and most handsome. This species is found in Shansi and 
Shensi. In colour it is of a rich orange-buff above and white below. 
The bushy tail is of a redder colour, the under surface being white in 
many individuals. The eyes are large and black; the ears medium 
sized. On the whole it is as pretty a member of the rat tribe as exists, 
and it makes a splendid pet. 

Meriones psammophilus is found in both Shansi and Chihli. It is 
smaller in size than M. auceps, and less brightly coloured. As its 
name suggests it inhabits more sandy areas. 

The third species is Meriones unguiculatus , which is found in 
Mongolia, the Ordos Desert and North Shansi. It is much duller 
in colour than either of the other two species, and has no white about 
it. It is also diurnal in its habits, whereas M. auceps is nocturnal and 
M. psammopliilus only semi-diurnal. The Chinese do not distinguish 
between the three species calling them all Huang shu (Yellow rat). 

The hamsters, our next group, are represented in North China 
by seven species and subspecies. All of these are characterized by 
the possession of very large check pouches, in which they carry food, 
to be stored up in their burrows. They have short tails, but are other- 
wise very rat-like in appearance. The largest are the giant hamster 
Cricetulus triton, and its sub-species Cncetu'lus triton incanus. 
The first of these is an inhabitant of Shantung and Chihli, the second 
being confined more to Western Shansi. These rats live in burrows, 
which have a large store chamber, and are reached by a vertical round 


shaft. They gather in enormous quantities of grain during the autumn 
for winter use. One rat will thus get away with a bushel or more of 
grain, and, when it is considered that in some districts burrows occur 
every few yards, it will be realised what a pest, these creatures may 
become. I have known of poor peasants' making a living by digging 
up these graneries. The Chinese name "Pan ts'ang" has reference 
to this habit, "ts'ang" meaning a store. The giant hamsters are of 
a pretty grey colour, and are equal in size to the common rat. They 
are very fierce and bite savagely. 

The other Chihli species is the striped hamster (Cricetulus griseus) 
which is not more than four inches in length, and is characterized by 
having a black stripe down the middle of the back. In shape it re- 
sembles the giant hamster, though in colour it is the least bit browner, 
and has softer, more glossy fur. In habits it is very similar to its 
larger cousin. A subspecies of this form is found in Inner Mongolia, 
being known as Cricetulus gris&us obscurus. 

In the hills and mountains of Shansi, Shensi and Eastern Kansu 
a third species (Cricetulus andersoni) exists. It was discovered by 
Anderson, whiose name it bears, in 1907. It is greyer than C. griseus, 
and is without the black stripe. Its tail is longer, but in shape, 
size and habits the two species are alike. It is extremely common. 

The two remaining hamsters differ from these five forms in hav- 
ing furry-soled feet, very short tails and unusually long whiskers. 
Of these the one found in the Ordos Desert is perhaps the most re- 
markable. This is an extremely elegant little creature, of a pinky- 
buff colour above and pure white beneath. It was discovered by Ander- 
son and myself in 1908, when it was named Cricetulus bcdfordice 
after the Duchess of Bedford. Subsequently it was placed in a new 
genus Phodopus by Dr. Gerrit S. Miller of the Smithsonian Institution, 
on account of the shape of the sole of the foot, the little lobes, noticeable 
in all other mice, being coalesced into one ball. This hamster is an 
inhabitant of the sand dunes of the Ordos Desert, and has also been 
recorded from North-western Shansi. These pretty little creatures 
make charming pets, being very easy to keep and naturally tame. 
They have many amusing habits and ways. They will fill their cheek 
pouches to bursting point with millet or grass seed, distorting the 
shape of their bodies ludicrously. Then, when teased or disturbed, 
they will push these pouches with their fore paws, causing the grain 
to pour out of their mouths. They are scrupulously clean, performing 
elaborate toilets at frequent intervals in their play, and being of a 
docile disposition attempt neither to bite nor to run away. 


The other species, Cricetulus campbelli, resembles the Ordos ham- 
ster in, shape and size, but. differs in being of a pretty grey colour with 
a yellow line down each side of the body and a black stripe down the 
middle of the back. It was discovered in Inner Mongolia by an ex- 
plorer named Campbell, after whom it was named. 

Our next group, the voles, includes over a dozen species. In 
the short space available it is impossible to go into detailed descrip- 
tions of all of themi. 

As a class voles differ from the hamsters in not having cheek 
pouches and from the true rats in having short tails and short ears, 
and from both in having heavier, wider and shorter skulls There are 
of course many other distinguishing features, notably in the teeth 
formations, but for our purposes the above differences will serve. 

In Chihli, so far as I know only one species has been recorded, 
though doubtless there are many more. This is Craseomys regulus, 
a large rich coloured vole which was first discovered by Anderson in 
Corea and subsequently found at the Imperial Tombs east of Peking. 
In .Shansi another species of the same genus was discovered by the 
same collector in 1907. It was called Craseomys shanseius. These 
voles are about four inches in length, and are of a rich red-brown 
colour. They live amongst rocks in well wooded areas, where the 
complicated ramifications of their runs may be found under the thick 

The second genus, Microtus, is very well represented. Two 
forms of voles belonging to it are found in Inner Mongolia, namely 
Microtus angustus, a long, narrow-headed vole, and Microtus warring* 
toni, a camp-inhabiting species, which was named after Mr. F. W. 
Warrington, who accompanied me on the trip during which it was 
discovered. Both of these species are of a sandy yellow colour, the 
first being somewhat darker than the second. 

In ,Shansi this genus is represented by at least three species. Of 
these Microtus johannus and Microtus pullus were both new discoveries 
of mine. The third, which was first discovered by David is known 
as Microtus mandarinus. This species has a very big heavy skull for 
its size, and inhabits the plains. 

M. johannus and M. pullus are mountain inhabiting species. The 
former is of a pale sandy-brown colour, and keeps to open mountain 
tops, while the latter is very much darker and lives in the forested 

In Kansu the genus is represented by two recently discovered 
species. One, named M. malcolmi after its discoverer Mr. Malcolm 
P. Anderson, differs from all the foregoing in having a very much more 


arched skull. It approaches more nearly to M. calamorum the 
Yang-tze reed- vole. The other, M. oniscus, was a discovery of Dr. 
J. A. C. Smith, and is a very small member of the genus. 

In South Shensi occurs a subspecies of M. calamamm. It was 
recently described as new under the name, M. c. superbus. It is very 
much larger than any of the species hitherto mentioned. 

There are two subgenera of the genus Microtus, namely Microtus 
(Caryomys) and Microtus (Ethenomys). The first of these is repre- 
sented by three species, namely Microtus (Caryomys) Inez from West 
Shensi, M. (C.) nux from South' Shensi and M. (C.) eva from West 
Kansu, all of which were discovered by Anderson. These are small 
rich coloured voles. Microtus (Eothenomys) melanogaster is the only 
member of the second subgenus so far discovered in China. It is 
found in Western Kansu as well as in Sze-chuan. 

A third genus, Proedromys, has also recently been described 
from Western Kansu. So far it contains only one species, Proedromys 
bedfordi. This species is mainly characterized by its excessively 
long hair. Otherwise, in general appearance it resembles M . malcolmi. 
I have recently secured some interesting voles from Manchuria but 
these are as yet unidentified. There are also many species in other 
parts of China, notably in Sze-chuan province, which, however, do 
not concern us in this paper. As far as my experience goes, none of 
these voles make good pets, being excessively shy and inclined to 
bite, when their sharp and powerful teeth inflict nasty wounds. 
Many of them seem to be partially diurnal in their habits, though 
one or two are purely nocturnal. 

The next group we have to consider is that of the true rats and 
mice. Under this heading we have .twelve species and subspecies, 
contained in the four genera, Mus, Eptym^s, Apodemus and Micromys. 

In the first of these comes the common rat (Mus rattus), the 
common mouse (Mus wagneri) and its sub-species Mus wagneri 
mongolmm, none of which need any description, except to say that 
the subspecies M. w. mongolium is slightly darker than M. wagneri 
In Manchuria I have found an even darker coloured form. Mus 
gansuensis is another closely related form, found in Western Kansu. 

The genus Epijmts includes what have been called the rock cr 
sulphur-bellied rats. These are comparatively large animals not un- 
like the common rat, but of a more delicate build, with longer ears 
and longer, more hairy tails. There is a tendency to spinyness in 
the hair of the back, and three, at least, of the four forms have 
pale sulphur-yellow belly fur. 

Plate XV. 

EATS AND MICE. Photo b y w - A - Mace - 


1. COMMON RAT (Mas rattus). 2. ROCK RAT (Epymis confucianus 
luticolar}. 3. WOOD MOUSE (Apodemus speciosus). 4. FIELD 
MOUSE (Apodemus agrarius). 5. COMMON MOUSE (Mus wagneri). 6. 
JERBOA (Dipus sowerbyi). 7. GERBIL (Meriones auceps}. 8. ANDER- 
SON'S HAMSTER (Cricetalus andersoni). 9. STRIPED HAMSTER (Crice- 
tulus griseus). 10. CRDOS HAMSTER (Phodopus bedfordiae). 11. 
CAMPBELL'S HAMSTER (Phoclopus campbelli). 

1. REED VOLE (gen. ct sp. incon.). 2. RED-BACK VOLE (gen. et sp. 
incon.}. 3. SHANSI VOLE (Crascowys shanscius). 4. MOUNTAIN VOLE 
(MiwoluB pullus}. [). LONG-HEADED VOLE (M. angustus). 6. 
WARRINGTON'S VOLE (M. irarringtoni). 7. MOLE RAT (Myospalax 
can sus). 8. GIANT HAMSTER (Cricehdns triton). 


They inhabit the rocky sides of valleys, are very voracious and 
are easily trapped. They do little or no damage to crops, their fav- 
ourite food being carrion and other animal refuse. They have been 
known to attack sick people, and some grisly tales are told of wood 
cutters or charcoal burners, who, working alone in out of the way 
places, and having fallen ill, have been horribly gnawed before help 
could reach them. 

The three forms found in Shantung, Shansi, Shensi and Kansu 
are sub-species of the Sse-chuan form Epymis confucianus. The 
Shantung species, Epymis confucianus sacer is larger and heavier 
than the others. The Shensi and Shansi form is a pale coloured 
animal called 'Epymis confucianus luticolor; while tBe Kansu species 
Epymis confucianus canorus is intermediate between the E. c. sacer 
and E. confucianus. 

One other rat belonging to this genus and found in the North 
China area is Epymis ling, which is very much yellower in colour! than 
E. confucianus. 

THE WOODMOUSE (Apodemvs speciosus). 

The third genus, Apodemus, contains the wood and fieldmice. 
Of these the woodmouse (Apodemus speciosus peninsulas) is perhaps 
the commonest. Eat-like in appearance this animal is very much 
smaller than the common rat and is found in mountainous and well- 
wooded country. Its range extends from Western Kansu to Eastern 
Chihli and from North Shansi to South Shensi. It may be found 
wherever there are woody, or even scrub covered hills, ranging from 


three thousand up to ten thousand feet. It is of a rich brown colour, 
with a tail as long or longer than its body. 

The fieldmice are divided into two sub-species, Apodemus agrarliis 
pallidior and Apodemus agrarius corece. The latter is found in Shan- 
tung and Chihli, the former in the provinces westward. These mice 
are like A. speciosus in colour, but have shorter tails and ears, and 
are distinguished by a black line down the middle of the back. They 
occur in the open plains and on hilltops, where there is some sort 
of small cover. In Kansu a third species, Apodemus} fergussoni, is 
found. It resembles the field mouse in proportions and colour, 
but is without any trace of the dark median dorsal line. 

The fourth genus Micromys is represented by but one species, 
namely Micromys, minutus, which is found in Southern Shensi. This 
pretty little mouse is commonly known as the harvest-mouse, and is 
much the smallest of all the mice. In passing it may be mentioned 
that A. agrarius and A. speciosus were originally consigned to the 
genus Micromys. 

Our last group, the molerats, is an extremely interesting one. 
It is represented in North China by at, least six species of peculiar 
mole-like rodents. Molerats live underground where they excavate 
extensive burrows in their search for the roots and bulbs, upon which 
they subsist. They have soft thick fur like that of the mole, en- 
ormously developed front feet and claws for digging, rudimentary 
eyes, and no external ears. Their tails are hairless and extremely 
sensitive. They have blunt flat noses, very powerful teeth, and 
heavy skulls. In short, they are built for digging in the close-packed 
and dry soil of North China. They do considerable damage to crops, 
and in some districts are relentlessly hunted by the Chinese farm- 
ers in an endeavour to exterminate them. 

The generic name of this group of rodents is Myospalax, and 
as already stated, contains some six species in Nortb China, namely 
M>. fontanieri, M. fontanus, M. cansus, M. psilurus, M, smithii and 
M . rothschildi. 

Of these the two first were at first confused with one another, 
but later M. fontanus was described as a distinct species from speci- 
mens secured by Anderson and myself in Western Shansi. M. 
fontanieri' s true habitat is in the neighbourhood of Peking. In colour 
M. fontanus is of a fine slate-grey. It is a very large rodent, with a 
heavy well-ridged skull. There is almost invariably a white diamond- 
shaped patch on the forehead. 

Plate XVI. 

THE KANSU ALLACTAGA (Allactaga mongolica longior). 

THE BUZZARD (Euteo hemilaseus}. 



M. cansus is found in Shensi and Kansu, is considerably smaller 
than the Shansi form and is of a much browner colour, the grey being 
clouded or washed with light chocolate. 

THE MOLERAT (Myospalax fontanieri). 

M. psilurus is the species common to Chihli. It resembles M. 
cansus in size and appearance, but has some differences in the skull. 

M. smithii is related to M. fontanieri, and was discovered by 
Dr. Smith in South-western Kansu, as also was M. rothschildi. 
This species is the smallest known, somewhat resembling M. cansus. 

Molerats are very easy to keep alive, but are of too savage a 
disposition to make good pets. One I owned was allowed the free- 
dom of the room, and one day it bored its way through the entire 
thickness of the bedclothes, mattress, blankets, quilt and all. 




AMONGST the best known and most popular of all the numerous 
members of the great order Rodentia are the squirrels. The typ- 
ical member of this large family (Sciuridae) is the common squir- 
rel (Sciurus vulgaris), whose habitat extends from the western coasts 
of the British Isles, right across Europe and Asia to the eastern shores 
of Japan. Naturally in so great an extent of country a considerable 
variation is found amongst the squirrels, though in essential character- 
istics the varieties of the common squirrel agree. In Great Britain 
the coat is red, even in winter. In some places the coat is red in 
summer and grey in winter, while in others, such as those in Manchuria, 
the pelt is grey in summer and winter. Thus it is known respectively 
as the red squirrel, the grey squirrel and the fur squirrel. 

Most people are familiar with the appearance of the common 
Squirrel. It is characterized by having a very soft coat, a long bushy 
tail and tufts on the ears. In this last particular it differs from all 
the other squirrels, except the red-squirrel (S. hudsonianue) of North 

In North China the common squirrel is very rare, occurring only 
in the heavily forested regions. It has been recorded from the forests 
(now being demolished) of Northern Chihli. I have heard of it in 
West Shansi, but have, never seen it there. It also occurs in Western 
Kansu and in Manchuria, in which two areas it is fairly plentiful. At 
one time it must have been very much more common in China Proper, 
but, like every other animal in this country, which is capable of being 
turned into money, has been so persecuted that it' is very nearly 

There are few pets more entertaining than squirrels, buti they 
are seen at thteir best, when, having been taken young, are allowed 
the freedom of the house and garden. Their little tricks and habits 
are most interesting, and they become so tame that they will not 
desert for the wilds again. 


Beside the common squirrel there are at least three species of 
flying squirrels found in North China, not to mention the ground 01 
striped squirrels and their allies the susliks and marmots. / 

Of the flying squirrels two are large species belonging to the genus 
Pteromys. Both of these were originally described from the forested 
areas of North-eastern Chihli. They are large rodents with wide, 
fur-covered membranes stretching along the sides of the body, joining 
up the front, and hind limbs. An elongated bone from the wrist 
supports this membrane in front, while it also stretches from the back of 
the hind limbs and embraces the tail. Thus when the animal spreads out 
its limbs it becomes, as it were, a living parachute, so that it can 
jump from the top of a tree, and by utilizing the resistance of the 
air vol-plain a considerable distance, it is said upwards of forty yards. 

The two species recorded are Pteromys xanthipes and P. melanop- 
terus. The former is of a rich chestnut-red colour with a white 
head, the latter of a dull grey-brown. 

THE FLYING SQUIRREL (Sciuropterus buechneri). 

The third species is much smaller, and belongs to the genus 
Sciuropterus. This is a pretty little creature, related to the American 
flying squirrels. It is about the size of the common rat, and has a 
fine, very soft coat of grey, tinged in places with buff. The underside 
is grey-white, the cheeks silver-grey. Tihb tail is bushy but flat, 
the sides being buff, the lower surface black, with: a black line down 
the upper surface. What makes this squirrel one of the most beautiful 
of its kind are the enormous black eyes. The wing-membrane is not 
so broad as in the foregoing genus, nor is it continued behind the hind 
legs. The species was named Sciuropterus buechneri from specimens 
obtained in Kansu, In the winter of 1909-10 I secured several 


specimens in the forests of West Shansi. These, for the present, have 
been assigned to the Kansu species. The natives brought me several 
live specimens, one of which I kept for some months. It became 
very tame, but died during the summer heat. Very lively and active, 
the members of this genus are amongst the most beautiful denizens 
of the forests. They are nocturnal in their habits. During the day 
they hide in holes in hollow trees, coming out at dusk to play about 
and gambol in the prettiest way. Racing up one tree to its topmost 
branch, they fling themselves into the air, with legs outstretched, 
and glide swiftly towards the trunk of another. At the end of the 
flight they rise slightly and alight upon the desired tree, when they 
scramble upward to repeat the manreuvre. At the slightest sign of 
danger they dodge behind the tree trunk, or press themselves flat 
upon the limb, when their protective colouring at once renders them 

Other species have been described from Japan, Saghalien and 

One of the commonest squirrels in North China is David's squirrel 
(Sciurotbmias davidianus), wh'ich belongs to a genus intermediate 
between the squirrels and the chipmunks or ground squirrels. About 
the size and appearance of the common squirrel, it is at, once dis- 
tinguishable by the absence of ear-tufts, and the browner colouring, 
which is caused by the otherwise grey hairs being tipped with buff. 
The long hairs of the bushy tail are tipped with white. A light buff 
ring encircles, the eye and there is a light patch behind the ear. The 
belly is grey washed with buff. 

This species occurs in mountainous and hilly regions all over 
North China. It possesses large cheek-pouches, in which particular 
it differs from the common squirrel, but resembles the chipmunks. 
Though it can climb trees, it is more of a rock and cliff inhabiting 
species, nesting in deep cracks and crannies. 

I found these squirrels extremely plentiful in the mountains of 
South Shensi. Here the natives told me they form a regular pest, 
and are as bad as rats in the way they enter the houses and steal 
grain and food. 

The chipmunks are little striped squirrels, which keep to the ground, 
excavating deep burrows, and living chiefly upon the seeds of herbs 
and small plants. These they store in specially constructed chambers 
in their burrows. They are graceful little creatures, being beautifully 
marked. The crown is of a grizzled brown, while the sides of the 
head are marked with three bands of dark brown, which extend 



respectively from the nose, above, through and below the eye, the 
space between being of a creamy white. The cheeks are buff and the 
throat creamy- white. Five dark stripes, which vary from a rich brown 
to black according to the species, extend down the back, the interven- 
ing spaces being occupied with white or light grey. All the stripes 
merge into a light chestnut or raw sienna patch on the rump. The 
flanks are ochraceous, the belly light buff. The long bushy tail is 
ochraceous down the middle, edged with black, the long hairs being 
tipped with' white. As already indicated chipmunks have large cheek- 
pouches in which they carry the proceeds of their foraging expeditions. 
They are excessively lively and active; are diurnal in their habits, and 
unlike any of the foregoing species, go into retirement for the winter. 

THE CHIPMUNK (Eutamias 1 asiaticus senescens). 

They make a peculiar chirping noise, which is very hard to locate, 
seeming to come from all parts of the compass at once. 

When the wild apricots are on, these little creatures climb the 
trees for the fruit, and can easily be caught with cunningly set snares, 
made by the natives out of horse hair. When taken young the^ 
make splendid pets, but adult males are inclined to be savage, and can 
bite very severely. One which' I brought from Kansu, and which had 
been kept in captivity ever since it could eat, grew so fierce that it 
would attack human beings, and climbing up their clothes try to 
bite their hands and face. It was kept in an empty room, and 


strongly resented any intrusion. It met its fate one day when it 
attacked a large Tom cat. 

The first species was described by Pallas under the name oi 
Eutamias asiaticus from the mountains west of Peking. Dr. Miller des- 
cribed a sub-species E. a. senescens from the mountains west of Peking. 
Anderson and I secured specimens from the Ordos Desert, which were 
very much paler and more buff coloured than the last mentioned, and 
so were described as distinct under the name of E. a. ordindlis. A 
third sub-species, intermediate between the Chihli and Ordos forms 
was also described from our collection, being called E. a. intercessor. 
This last inhabits the mountainous areas of West Shansi. Some 
chipmunks secured by me in Manchuria show a very much darker 
colouring, while other species and allied genera occur in Sze-chuan 
and elsewhere. 

Belated to the chipmunks are the susliks or, as they are more 
popularly called, "gophers." These are often referred to as ground 
squirrels. They are small rodents not unlike squirrels, but having 
short, less bushy tails and very small ears. They are also purely 
terrestial, being unable to climb trees. They inhabit plains and desert 
areas, excavating deep and extensive burrows, for which purpose their 
fore-paws are larger and more powerful than those of the chipmunk, 
and are armed with long, sharp claws. Their bodies are long and 
their limbs short, which characteristics, with their short ears and tails 
help them in their semi-subterranean lives. They feed upon different 
herbs and small plants, which grow at convenient distances from their 
burrows. If they can get at fields off grain they will work great havoc. 
They seldom go far from the mouths of their burrows, and keep a 
eharp look out 1 for enemies, whom they escape by diving underground. 
They may often be seen sitting up like sentinels upon the mounds of 
earth, which they raise beside their burrows. Scanning the open plain 
in every direction, they make sure that no enemy is near ere they 
will go foraging, and it is a difficult matter for any wild beast to 
approach them. Man they seem to scorn, and so can be caught easily. 
They are diurnal in their habits, and, like the chipmunks, 
hibernate during the winter. In colour they are of a uniform sandy- 
grey, slightly darker above. 

One species, Citellus mongolicus, occurs in North China, a sub- 
species, C. m. umbratus, having been described from the grasslands 
of Inner Mongolia. 

A very large, closely related genus is that of the marmots, which 
is represented in North China by a single species (Marmota robusfri). 



This rodent, which is somewhat larger than a hare, occurs in China 
proper only in the extreme west of Kansu, but, is plentiful in Eastern 
Mongolia and the neighbouring portions .of Manchuria. In Kansu it 
is known by the Chinese as "Ta-la," and in Manchuria as "Han ta" 
(Dry otter), while the Mongol name is Tarrabagan. This is one of 
the few fur-producing rodents of North China. At the time when 
the pneumonic plague was raging in Manchuria it was thought that 
this creature was largely responsible for its origin and spread, but 
careful investigation has shown this idea to be erroneous. 

THE SUSLIK (Citellus mongolicus). 

Our next genus, Ochotona, consists of small rabbit-like rodents, 
commonly known as pikas. They resemble the rabbit family in having 
only four toes on the hind feet, furry soles and an extra pair of very 
small incisor teeth behind the two large ones in the upper jaw. They 
differ from the rabbits and hares in having extremely small tails, 
which do not even appear through the skin of the body. They also 
have smaller, more rounded ears. They are very much smaller than 
any of the rabbits, the largest not exceeding eight or nine inches in 

Like rabbits they burrow a great deal, making extensive warrens. 
They also have little beaten tracks or runways between the rocks, and 
ramifying through the underbrush, in which they live. Their food 
consists of grass and small herbs. In the case of flhie- Siberian pika, 



they heap up large stores of grass near their burrows, doubtless for 
winter consumption. I have never noticed anything of the sort in 
connection with any of the Chinese species. They seem to be semi- 
diurnal or semi-nocturnal, for I have found them early in the morning 
in traps set overnight. I have also trapped them during the day. 
It may be that they commence their foraging at the first sign of dawn, 
and do not actually come out at night. They do not hibernate. 

The race seems to be eminently adaptive, for species occur in 
the arid wastes of the Ordos, on the grassy plateau of Inner Mon- 
golia, in the forested areas of West Shansi, amongst t'hie loess hills of 
Shensi and Kansu and on the highest mountains of the central and 
western provinces. 

Altogether some eight species and sub-species have been described 
from North China, including one from Inner Mongolia. 


THE PIKA (Ochotona bedfordi). 

One of the first known species was Ochotona dauurica, which 
occurs in Inner Mongolia. It was originally described from the Urga 
district in the north. This species in its summer pelt is of a grey- 
brown colour above, with light grey under parts. The flanks are 
lighter than the back, while the chest is of a buff colour, the chin 
^rey-white. The upper part of the back of the ear is black. The 
adult, is about eight inches in length. It inhabits the sides of low 
hills, having preference for scrub patches, beds of stinging nettles or 
rocky screes. It frequently takes up its quarters in disused 
badger holes, or "setts" as they are called, excavating long galleries and 
tunnels in the walls of the latter. It is very difficult to catch pikas 
in traps which require the taking of bait, but, an ordinary "gin" set in 
one of their runways catches them easily enough. 


Further west in North Shansi, in the Ordos Desert and in North 
Shensi this species is replaced by another lighter form known as 
0. bedfordi. This was described from specimens taken by Anderson 
and myself in West Shansi. Its chief characteristics are its very much 
paler pelt and slightly larger size, while the skull was described as 
being slightly larger, less convex on the forehead, with larger brain-case, 
very much larger bullae, and as being broader than in 0. dauurica. These 
pikas we found occupying sites at various altitudes in the loess hills. 
Some were in colonies on the plains and in river valleys, while others 
would be located in t'hie deep loess gullies and ravines or on the steep 
sides of the hills. Specimens from Yen-an Fu in North-central Shensi 
agree in skull measurements with those from the type locality (Ning-wu 
Fu) in West Shansi, but' the winter pelts are somewhat different. 
Those from Shansi are somewhat darker and more ochraceous in 
colour than those from Shensi. 

On the Clark expedition in 1909 I secured specimens in Eastern 
Kansu of yet a third species, which was called 0. annectens by Dr. 
Gerrit S. Miller of the U.S. National Museum. This species, though 
resembling the Shensi pika, is somewhat smaller, and has smaller 
bullae and more convex upper cranial outline. It was only in Kansu 
that I ever saw pikas playing about in broad daylight, and I was 
struck by their remarkable resemblance to rabbits in the way they 
moved and fed. I secured some live ones, which I tried to tame, but 
the little creatures were altogether too timid to endure handling, and 
refused to eat. 

From Western Kansu Prof. Matschie has described a species under 
the name of 0. huangensis, which more closely resembles 0. dauurica. 

In the forests of West Shansi, when on the Duke of Bedford's 
Exploration of Eastern Asia I discovered a small wood-pika, which 
was described as new by Mr. Thomas, who gave it the name 0. sorella. 
Only one specimen was secured at that time, but I secured a second on 
a later trip. No other specimens have yet been obtained. This pika 
is very much smaller than any of those already mentioned. It is 
considerably darker in colour than 0. dauurica and the hair on the 
soles of the feet is very dark. It keeps entirely to wooded mountains, 
amongst the moss-covered boulders of which it excavates extensive 
and complicated burrows. It seems to be a very rare species. 

Related to it is 0. cansa from Kansu, described by Lyon. This 
species is larger, however, and has larger bullae and a less convex 

s 11 


A sub-species of 0. cansa has recently been described by Mr. 
Thomas from the Tai-pei Shan in South Shensi, under the name of 
0. c. morosa. 

In the same district, yet another species has been newly described 
by the same authority. This is 0. syrinx, and is related to 0. cansa, 
but is much larger, and has smaller bullae. 

These eight species are all very much alike in external general ap- 
pearance, the noticeable differences being (mainly in their sizes and 
different shades of colour. 



FROM time immemorial the eagle has been invested with the 
stamp of royalty. We have been familiar with the Roman Eagles from 
our earliest schoolboy days, and most of the present day Sovereigns in 
Europe have the eagle in some form or other upon their coat of arms. 
Even the Republics of America and Mexico have chosen the eagle to 
form some part of their heraldry. 

What is it that has singled out this bird above all others as the 
emblem of authority, conquest and even freedom? Was it not its 
regal bearing, its strength and power, its fierce disposition that first re- 
commended it to the old world conquerors, who handed it on to their 
Caesars and Kaisers? Ever since it has been idealised in our story 
books, and we have come to look upon it as the bird of birds. 

And so it is in many respects. No bird has so markedly that pierc- 
ing glance, those overhanging brows, that noble poise of head and that 
grace and perfect equilibrium in the air. The vulture may be larger 
and also graceful on the wing, but there is something mean and dis- 
reputable about its naked head and neck, set so deeply between its 
shoulders. The yellow eye of the hawk may flash more fiercely, but the 
bird lacks size and dignity, while there is something indescribably comic 
about the owl. 

There are a great many kinds of eagles, but the one most familiar 
to us is the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetus), so called on account of the 
light colour of its long neck feathers. In size this bird may be com- 
pared with a good sized turkey. Its spread of wing may reach six or 
seven feet, though the latter measurement is unusual. 

Of a general dark brown colour, it has some white on the wings 
and tail, the tips of which are black. The powerful talons are of a 
bright yellow colour, with long sharp claws of black. The legs are 
feathered right down to the feet. The beak, which is not as large as 
in some species, is black, with bright yellow base. The eyes, which 
are set deeply under beetling brows, are of a rich brown. 


In China the golden eagle is found all over Shansi, especially in the 
mountainous parts and throughout Shensi and Kansu. It is very 
common in Mongolia, where it nests on the ground, there being, as a 
rule, neither cliff nor tree. In other places it builds its nest high up 
on rocky cliffs. The female, which is larger and fiercer than the male, 
usually lays two eggs. The young when hatched are covered with soft, 
white down. They grow very rapidly and can fly in August. Some- 
times the parent birds commence nesting very early in the year- 

When attacking its prey the eagle uses its talons, striking and 
clutching as it swoops down upon its victim. The beak is only used 
for rending after the animal is killed. In Central Asia this bird is 
used to kill large quadrupeds and birds. It. will strike down a fox or 

Golden eagles make good pets, though they want careful handling, 
and must be given plenty of space the more the better. They are 
best when taken young, for then they do not try to escape as older 
birds do, nor does one feel so bad about depriving them of their 
liberty. They can be fed on scraps of raw meat, and should not be 
given too much. Six ounces a day is ample. I have frequently had 
young ones in my possession, but have usually ended up by setting them 
at liberty. Of two I once had, one became quite docile, the other, how- 
ever, remaining fierce and intractable. When I approached the latter 
it would fly at me and strike with its claws, which it once succeeded 
in burying in my forearm. 

One in my possession now I picked up in Mongolia. It is quite 
tame and will feed from the hand, though it does not like to be handled. 
One evening a cat got into its cage to steal its meat. With a scream of 
fury the eagle pounced upon the thief, and but for timely interference 
would have killed it. 

In the wild state the golden eagle is not easily approached, except 
where it is very plentiful. It feeds upon hares, birds, small rodents and 
carrion. In some places the last mentioned seems to be its chief diet. 
I have frequently seen eagles feeding upon the corpses of beggars and 
children, which have been left unburied in the fields. 

The spotted eagle (A. clanga), a much smaller bird, is also found in 
North China, its range extending into South China. It may be re- 
cognized by its plumage, which is spotted in immature specimens on 
the wing coverts, rump and belly. 

Another eagle found in North China is the white-tailed sea-eagle 
(Haliaetus albicilla). This bird rivals the golden eagle in size, and has 
a heavier bill. It is much lighter in colour and has a white tail. The 


beak, legs and eyes are yellow. Though a sea eagle it travels up the 
courses of large rivers for considerable distances inland, and may be 
seen circling round offal and debris scattered over the alluvial plains by 
the flood waters. 

Closely related to this species is the bald-headed eagle 
(H. leucoceplialus), which is characterized by having a white head, not, 
as the name seems to imply, a bald one. This species does not keep 
so much to the river courses, but may be found in hillyi and moun- 
tainous districts. 

H. pelagicus, a very large species, has been seen once in China by 
Pere David. Its true habitat is North-eastern Asia, where it has 
been recorded as breeding in great numbers in the Sea of Okhotsk. 
This bird is remarkable chiefly for its enormous yellow bill. 

Much the largest bird in North China, that is at all related to the 
eagles, is the black vulture (Vultur monachus). This bird has a spread 
of wing as much as nine feet and over. One I measured was nine and 
a half feet from tip to tip. This specimen now stands in a museum in 
Tai-yuan Fu. The black vulture is very rare, being found only in high 
mountainous country. As its name suggests it is of a uniform dull 
black colour. Its legs are of a deep carmine, and are comparatively 
weak, with small claws. It has an enormous black beak, and a naked 
neck, at the base of which is a fine ruff of feathers. The head is cover- 
ed with fine, black down, growing into a tuft at the back. 

A much commoner vulture is the lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), 
which is fairly plentiful in Western Shansi. This large bird differs 
from most vultures in having the head and neck entirely feathered. 
Its talons, though not so powerful as those of an eagle, are, neverthe- 
less, much stronger than those of the black vulture, which bird it also 
rivals in size. The lammergeier is of a brown colour above, paler on 
the throat and breast, merging into a fine chestnut, on the belly. It has 
a long wedge-shaped tail. The beak is sharply hooked, and there is a 
small tuft of feathers on the chin like a beard. 

A bird that might almost rank with the eagles is the osprey, or 
fish-hawk (Pandion haliaetus). Though not so large as the eagle, it is a 
fine, handsome bird, with dark upper parts and white breast, belly and 
legs. It has very powerful talons, which are white in colour. It lives 
upon fish, which it catches by pouncing upon them as they come to 
the surface. It will pull a fish of three or four pounds weight out? cf 
the water, and carry it off to its nest or some dead limb high up on its 
favourite tree. The nest, which is enormous, is usually built at the 


top of some high tree. The osprey is not very plentiful in North China 
proper, but I saw a great many in Manchuria along the big rivers. 

Beside these large birds there are a great many smaller birds of 
prey found in North China. There is the kite (Milvua melanotis), 
which occurs everywhere, from the coastal towns and regions to the 
Mongolian Plateau or the Archaic ranges of the west. This bird is in 
the main a scavenger, though it is credited with carrying off chicks 
and other young poultry. It is often mistaken for the eagle whon in 
flight, but it may readily be distinguished from all other birds of prey 
in this country by its forked tail. 

A bird that about equals the kite in size, and somewhat resembL3s 
it in appearance is the white-tailed buzzard (Buteo hemilasi\us) 
though its plumage is considerably lighter, and its feet are yellow 
instead of blue-grey. This bird is not a scavenger, though it is not 
so good a hunter as many other hawks, being somewhat slow and 
plumsy. I have seen one chasing a peregrine to rob it of a partridge, 
which it had caught. The buzzard, though much the larger bird was 
unable to overtake its victim, in spite of the heavy weight the latter 
was carrying. 

Birds belonging to this species are very common in the loess hills 
of North and West Shansi, where they build their nests on ledges or 
outgrowing shrubs on high cliffs. They love to perch on the tops of 
tall trees and buildings, whence they may command a wide view. It 
is almost impossible to get a shot at them, for they are very shy and 
wide awake. In Mongolia I came across a large buzzard which was 
very light in colour with a white head. 

A much smaller species, B. plumipes, also occurs. It is common 
in North-east China, but is not often met with in the west. 

The next bird in point of size is a gerfalcon (Falco sacer), a fine 
hawk, rioted for its fierceness and speed, and much valued by the 
falconer. This and the next species are used a great deal by the 
Chinese in the pursuit of small game. I have described the mode of 
procedure in this sport elsewhere, so will not do so again. 

In England some attempts have been made to revive falconry, but 
without much success. So much time and patience is required in 
training the falcons and in keeping them so. 

The peregrine (Falco peregrinus) is also very common in China, 
chiefly in hilly and mountainous districts. This bird may readily be 
recognized by its dark blue-black back, white throat and closely barred, 
grey breast. It is of a lighter, more slender build than the gerfalcon. 

Plate XVII. 


The female is of a browner colour, and has not the fine, barred breast 
of the male, but is larger and fiercer. Like most of its kind the 
peregrine builds its nest in high cliffs well out of reach of its enemies. 

The sparrow hawk (Accipiter nisus) is very common in this 
country. This pretty little hawk is chiefly remarkable for its unus- 
ually long legs. The Chinese also use this species in falconry, though 
it catches only small birds. The well known kestrel (Cerchneis tinnun- 
cnlus) is also very common in North China, and may be recognised 
by its light brick red back and breast, and grey head and wings. The 
female is brown spotted with a darker shade. This bird may frequently 
be seen hovering in the air for seconds together, only its wings beating 
rapidly to keep it in position. 

Another small hawk that is very common is the Amour red-footed 
falcon (Erythropus amurensis). The plumage in this species is of 
a uniform blue-grey, slightly lighter below. Its under tail coverts are 
of a rich Indian red colour. The base of the beak, eyelids and legs 
are also red or orange in colour. This and the two preceding species 
build their nests in tall trees. 

A hawk that should be familiar to every wild fowler is the beautiful 
hen harrier (Circus cyaneus), which frequents marshy districts, feed- 
ing upon small aquatic birds and animals. It is of a fine grey on 
the head, back, wings and tail. The breast is grey and the belly 
white. The base of the beak, the eyes and the long legs are of a bright 
light yellow. The female is brown. These birds have very long wings, 
and are extremely graceful. In Manchuria a harrier with a black 
head and back, black and white wings and belly is very common. 
It. is known as C. melanoleucus. 

Finally we come to the nocturnal birds of prey. There are some 
eight different species of owls, ranging from 1 the great eagle owl, which 
is about! thirty inches in length, down to the little scops owl, not more 
than seven inches. 

The eagle owl (Bubo maximus) is almost the largest of its kind. 
It is of a brown colour, lighter on the, breast than elsewhere, very 
prettily marked with dark brown and black bars. It has two long 
tufts like ears growing from the top of the head. The eyes, which are 
very large, are of an orange colour; the feet are feathered, except on 
the under surface, and are armed with long powerful claws. The 
eagle owl inhabits mountainous and forested regions throughout North 
China and Manchuria, where it may frequently be seen at dusk, flying 
silently over the tree tops in search of food. 


Next in size are the long-eared owl (Otus wulgaris) and the short- 
eared owl (Otus brachyotus), both of which frequent mountainous 
regions as well as the plains. Of these the long eared owl is the more 
graceful, having longer wings and tail. In colour and markings both 
are very similar to each other, and to the eagle owl. 

A brown owl (Nenox japonica) also occurs, besides two wood owls 
(Symium fuscescens and S. niviola) both very rare. 

The little owl (Athene plumipes), as a small rock or loess-inhabit- 
ing species is called, is no larger in the body than a quail, but with 
its fluffy feathers it looks the size of a half grown pigeon. It has no 
fcufts on the head like the other owls of North China have. As already 
indicated it frequents the holes and ravines in rocky or loess hills. 
When it comes out in the evening it makes a cackling noise something 
like that of the chukar. It is of a light brown colour on the back 
marked with white or buff dots. Its breast is buff with dark mark- 
ings. With its quaint little ways and tractable disposition it makes 
a charming pet. There can be no more amusing sight than one of 
these little birds attacking a cat or terrier. With every feather on end, 
eyes wide open and uttering shrill, piercing screams, it presents a 
sufficiently fierce appearance to daunt the boldest dog. 

The last species we have to consider is the scops owl (Scops stic- 
tonotus), a beautiful little creature no bigger than a starling. It is of 
a dark grey-brown marked with bars of a deeper shade. It has bright 
yellcw eyes and ear-like tufts. Usually it hides up in old temples, 
coming out in the evening at dusk. Woe betide the sparrow who so 
much as stirs a feather, when this fierce little marauder is about; for 
like lightning it will detect the whereabouts of its prey and swoop upon 
it in the dark, uttering a series of shrill, piping screams, apparently 
to disconcert its victim and so render capture more sure. 



TO-DAY, the 1st of October, pheasant shooting beings at home, and 
doubtless many a Tientsin sportsman is wishing that he too might 
shoulder his gun, and with his favourite pointer go 'for a happy 
day amongst the pheasants. As this is quite out? of the question for 
most of us, let us indulge in a little armchair travel, and derive what 
comfort we can from a quiet contemplation of the noble sport over our 
coffee and toast. 

On the merits of pheasant shooting, compared with other forms of 
sport, in which the shot-gun plays the leading part, one need say no- 
thing. The fact that it is by far the most important sport of its kind 
at home speaks for it. 

The common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) was introduced into 
Western Europe by the Eomans, who brought it from its home in 
South-eastern Europe and Asia Minor. When it reached Great Britain 
is not exactly known. 

This bird is a handsome fellow, with its rich orange-brown, and 
old gold plumage, dark green head and fine, well marked tail, the whole 
shot with a purple or coppery sheen. There are something like thirty 
sub-species or local races of the common pheasant, all of which 
are characterized by the red-brown or orange colour of the upper tail 
coverts. They range from Persia westward, and so, being more or 
less out of our way, call for no further comment in this paper. 

From Persia eastward right to the islands off the coast of China, 
we have a great number and variety of pheasants. What are known 
as the true pheasants are characterized by having wings more like those 
of the partridge, with the first flight feather much longer than the 
tenth, by the absence of any crest, though the ear tufts are elongated 
in the males, and by the presence in the males of spurs. They 
differ from the true pheasants west of Persia in having the upper tail 
coverts of a grey or pale green colour,. 

3 12 


These are the birds which give us the best sport, and which have 
from time to time been introduced into Great Britain, so that now, it 
is said, it is impossible to find a pure bred bird in that country. 

The Chinese pheasant is represented by several local races. They 
are all distinguished by more or less pronounced white collars, exten- 
sive grey-green upper tail-coverts, orange brown breasts, shot with a 
purple sheen, and long, barred tails. 

The bird inhabiting North-eastern China has been called Phasianus 
kiangsuensi, and is characterized by the very broad and complete white 
collar and a whitish eyebrow. The Yang-tze bird is known as P. 
torquatus. In this species the white collar is incomplete in front, the 
sides are veryi much lighter than in the northern bird, while the sheen 
on the green neck is purple, not green, as in the other. 

In South China the pheasant is represented by P. satschennensis. 

In Western Mongolia the species is represented first by P. 
semitorquatus, and still further west by the Mongolian pheasant 
(P. mongolicus), which is characterized by its superior size and 
white, instead of grey, wing coverts. 

One other true pheasant calls for notice, and that is the famous 
Beeves' pheasant (Syrmaticus reevesii), which inhabits Central, North- 
eastern and Western China. This magnificent bird is distinguished by 
the enormous length of its tail, which reaches five or six feet, and is 
handsomely barred with black and white. The plumage of the body 
is of a fine golden yellow, each feather being tipped with black. The 
head is black and white. I have seen this bird for sale in the Tientsin 
markets, stripped, of course, of the fine tail feathers, which are highly 
valued as plumes for a certain warrior character in Chinese theatricals. 

In South and West China occur two very handsome pheasants 
which, however, can not be included in the true pheasant class. These 
are the golden pheasant (Crysolophus pictus) and Lady Amherst's 
pheasant (C. amherstiae). These superbly plumaged birds are dis- 
tinguished by the possession of large brightly marked' hoods, which 
look like capes hanging down from their necks. They also have 
very long, broad and well marked tails. So bright are their colours 
that they look almost artificial. 

Another class of pheasants are those which are included in the 
genus Pucrasia, to which belong the pucras pheasants, or koklass. 
These are about the size of the common pheasant, perhaps a little 
smaller, and are characterized by having short wedge-shaped tails, and 
long crests ; while the feathers of their backs and necks are long and 
pointed like those on the neck of the common fowl. They are not 
brilliantly marked birds, being about the least conspicuous of the 

Plate XVIII. 

THE CHINESE PHEASANT (Phasianus kiangsuensis). 



THE SIIANSI PHEASANT (Pliasianus sp.). 


whole pheasant family. They are excellent eating, and grow very 
fat. They range from the Himalayas to the Manchurian forests, and 
include about eight species. Birds from Manchuria find their way 
into the Tientsin markets. The three species found in China are, 
Pucrasia darwini from Eastern China, P. xanthospila from Western 
China, and P. styani from the region of the Yang-tze. 

In Manchuria the pucras pheasants are very common. During the 
colder months of the year they collect in bouquets of ten to fifteen 
but, owing to the dense forests they frequent, do not offer very good 
sport. Their Chinese name in Manchuria is Hsu Chi (Tree hen), or 
Sung Chi (Pine hen). 

An interesting group of pheasants is formed by the blood pheasants 
of West China. Three species have been described from China. One, 
Ithagenes sinensis is found in the Ching-ling Mountains of South 
Shensi. Not unlike the pucras pheasant, but with softer feathers, this 
bird has a grey crest, neck and back, green flanks, carmine belly and 
red legs. The second species, I. geoffroyi, is abundant in Western 
Szechuan, along the Thibetan border. The third species, I. wilsoni 
also occurs in Szechuan, but more to the south. 

Last, but not least, come the eared-pheasants, of which there 
are two distinct species. One of these, the Manchurian eared-pheasant 
(Crossoptilon mantchuricum) is found from Western Shansi, through- 
out the high mountainous regions of North Chihli into Manchuria. 
This species has a black head, black neck, breast, shoulders and wings. 
The back, the upper tail coverts and the anterior portion of the large 
and handsomely curved tail are grey-white. The throat is pure white, 
white feathers extending on either side of the head into long ear-like 
tufts, giving the bird a ferocious appearance. The face is naked and 
red, as in the common pheasant, the beak is horn-coloured and the 
legs are carmine. In size this pheasant equals a small turkey, weighing 
about 7 Ibs. Altogether it is a very striking bird. As a sporting bird it 
has few equals; as an addition to the cuisine none. 

In Kansu, and westward into Thibet this species is replaced by 
another form (C. auritum), which includes three local races, or 
sub-species (C. a. harmani, C. a. Icucurum and C. a. tibetanum). 
By some these local races are considered as distinct species, by others 
mere varieties of one species; but as we are not concerned with the 
quarrels of the learned, so long as they ultimately give us some names, 
whereby to distinguish the numerous varieties of animals and birds, we 
will leave the matter with them, contenting ourselves by noticing that 
a difference in plumage does exist. 


C. auritum is of a fine slate-blue colour with no white, except on 
the throat and ear- tufts,, while C. a. tibetanum is white all over except 
for the top of the head, which is black, the wings, which are brown and 
the tail which is black with a metallic sheen. 

Eared-pheasants are only to be found in high mountainous and 
heavily wooded regions. They are essentially birds of the forest, and 
are very fast runners. Though not strong on the wing, they afford 
good sport by their peculiar habit of soaring, or, to use more up to 
date language, vol-planing from the crest of the high ridges, on which 
they live, down or across the intervening valleys. Being heavy birds 
they soon get up a terrific momentum, so that their speed exceeds that 
of the common pheasant. Unless they escape out at the bottom of 
the valley, or cross the ridge into the next, they will repeat the soaring 
manoeuvre over and over again, so that a sportsman, standing at the 
bottom of the valley, gets a series of shots that will test his skill and 
judgement to the uttermost, and he will be a proud man if he returns 
to camp with four or five of these handsome birds. 

To return to the Chinese pheasant, (which I will mention hereafter 
as the pheasant), there are no really good coverts within easy 
reach of Tientsin. The hills north of Peking annually yield a few 
brace to some ardent sportsmen, who do not mind stiff climbing. 

The most accessible pheasant grounds are, however, down the 
Tsin-Pu line, at the various stations beyond Peng-pu and further south 
round Nanking. Of course these grounds were quite inaccessible till 
the railway was opened, and even now they are only practicable when 
the weekly express is running. 

Other districts within two or three day's journey are, the valleys 
east of Mukden and Kai-yuan in Manchuria, the hinterland from 
Antung in North Korea and South Manchuria, South Shansi and North 
Honan, accessible from the Pei-han line by means of the Pekin Syndi- 
cate line and the Pienlo, East Shansi accessible from, the Chen-tai 
line by getting off at Ping-tan, the station for Ping-ting Chou, and West 
Shansi, accessible from Tai-yuan Fu, the terminus of the same line. 

In any of these places good bags may be made, but for sheer num- 
bers of pheasants no country can compare with the sparsely populated 
loess districts of North-central Shensi from Yen-an Fu to Pei-tung- 
kuan, and one or two uninhabited areas in Eastern Kansu. Here the 
birds are so thick, that shooting them practically ceases to be a sport. 
To begin with they are so tame that it is almost impossible to get 
them to fiy, and it is not till one has been in the district some time 
tod frightened them a bit that they will offer decent shots. 


It is almost unbelievable the number of birds that iray be seen 
feeding in the open fields along the roadside during a days march; 
but there are at least a dozen foreigners, who will bear me out in my 
statements. On my first visit in the winter of 1907, the pheasants 
swarmed, so that I could knock them down with my whip as I rode 
past. On my second visit during the Clark Expedition, four foreigners 
and a couple of dozen Chinese lived upon pheasants for over 
two months, no other meat being available, except an occasional 
duck and venison onc'e or twice. We shot over the thorn 
scrub coverts within sight of the walls of Yen-an Fu to our hearts 
content, and when we left the birds were as numerous as ever. But 
it was during my last visit in the winter of 1911-12 that their numbers 
surpassed anything I had ever dreamed of, as they swarmed, literally 
in hundreds, along the roadside. The crops, owing to the Revolu- 
tion, had not been gathered in that autumn, and this seemed to attract 
unusually large numbers of birds out of the hills on to the wide valleys. 
The members of the Shensi Relief Expedition shot pheasants till they 
were tired of the sport, and still the birds refused even to take cover. 
Had we the ammunition, there would have been no difficulty in bagging 
two or three hundred birds a day, and these conditions existed over a 
stretch of country that took five days to traverse, going at a good rate. 
I knew, too, from previous journeys that the same conditions probably 
extended eastward across the Yellow River into Shansi, and westward 
nine or ten days' march into Kansu. 

In China the most satisfactory, one might almost say the only way 
to shoot pheasants is by walking them up, over dogs if possible. There 
is no need for driving, and I am glad to say that out here, at least, 
we have none of the indiscriminate-slaughter kind of sportsmen, who, 
detesting any kind of hard work, refuse to go after their game, and 
whose main object is to kill as many birds as possible, with the least 
exertion, and in the minimum space of time. 

Almost everywhere in China pheasant shooting entails a fair 
amount of walking and hill climbing, but how handsomely one may be 
repaid for his labour the following anecdotes may serve to show. 

Some twelve miles to the west of Tai-yuan Fu in Shansi, lies a 
little hamlet named Sheng-yieh, situated at the head of a ravine in 
some well wooded and mountainous country. Adjoining the hamlet is 
a small temple, one room of which has been repaired, and made suit- 
able for habitation by a public spirited resident of Tai-yuan Fu. It has 
long been the custom for the shooting members of the community to 
spend their shorter holidays shooting in the district. The mountains, 
which rise rather abruptly from the plain, are formed of sedimentary 


rocks, layers of mauve, maroon, yellow and green shale, interbedded 
with coal seams, overlying heavy masses of blue limestone. Woods of 
pine, spruce, birch and poplar stretch along many of the ridges, while, 
elsewhere thick hazel scrub, dwarf oak or thorn brush afford good 
cover. These patches of vegetation are interspersed with stretches of 
bare crumbling rock, or once cultivated terraces, upon which thick, rank 
grass and brambles grow in profusion. So wild is the spot, one can 
completely forget that within half a day's march lies a great city, so 
that it fulfils one of the chief requirements of a holiday resort. 

It came about one fine afternoon early in the autumn 
season, that three of us found ourselves riding westward with 
the hopes of enjoying a restful change in a few days sport) 
mid these delightful surroundings. Arrived at the temple, we 
made ourselves comfortable, and early next morning commenced 
our shooting. We found the pheasants reasonably plentiful, and en- 
joyed ourselves thoroughly. Amongst other things a small flock of 
eared-pheasants was raised, from which 1 I succeeded in bagging a fine 
cock. Several woodcock were flushed, and one or two brought to bag, 
while hares, after the first two or three that got up had been potted, 
were ignored as being unworthy of further notice. One of our party 
was a Frenchman, a tolerably good shot, and a most amusing fellow. 
He put up a small pig towards the end of! the day, and was much an- 
noyed when we told him he had only seen an unusually large hare. 
Our chaff, however, brought woe in its train, for two days later, when 
a really magnificent boar jumped up in front of our friend, sa determin- 
ed was he that we should see it for ourselves, that he stood calling 
to us instead of shooting, and the tusker escaped over the nearest 

For several days we ranged the woods and pine spinnies, the 
dense valley bottoms, or the higher rocky ridges. Most of the time 
we carried rifles in the hopes of getting a pig or deer, but finally on 
our last day we decided to devote our energies entirely to pheasants 
and other small game. 

By this time we knew exactly where all the best coverts were, 
and so, as dawn broke, lost no time in getting to work. Our first beat 
flushed a bouquet of some thirty or forty birds, from which we bagged 
five, the two Britishers making a right and left each, while the French- 
man secured a good cock. Our friend was not to be despised, however, 
for he drew level and passed us in the next beat, when four more birds 
were added to the bag. We were now at the end of a long rocky ridge. 
In front and below us lay the bare loess foothills, while behind us 
stretched a long pine wood. On either side were scrub-filled ravines, 

Plate XIX, 




and we decided to cross one of these. In descending the slope several 
pheasants were put up, but escaped, as also did a couple of woodcocks. 

When half way up the opposite slope, we commenced working over 
some long-deserted terraces, and here we had the best sport of the day. 
The scrub was just thick enough to shelter the birds, and not so thick 
as to impede our progress. We did good shooting, finally reaching the 
head of the valley with another ten birds between us. Crossing the 
ridge at the top. we descended a second ravine, and again found our- 
selves in the thick of it. Birds were getting up all round, and it was 
only the approach of twilight, as the sun dipped behind the ridges, that 
caused a falling off in our marksmanship. Three hares, breaking cover, 
were easily secured, however, and a large covey of partridges also 
supplied a couple of birds to the bag. When we finally stopped shoot- 
ing, and headed for camp in the fast gathering gloom, we carried with 
us the respectable bag of twenty-five pheasants, three hares and two 
partridges. These added to our other bags, brought our total up to 
about seventy head. 

Last Chinese New Year a shooting party from Tientsin, which 
I was kindly invited to join, had a very enjoyable week on the Tsin- 
pu line. Stopping off at the San-chieh station (about one hours run 
from Pu-kou) we shot over the surrounding hills with fair success for 
three days. Considering that the district had been worked pretty con- 
tinuously since the previous autumn, and that the Station Master him- 
self had shipped four piculs of pheasants a day for a fortnight to the 
Shanghai markets, pheasants were surprisingly numerous. There were 
a great many quail ; in fact the quail shooting was liable to prove up- 
setting to the nobler sport, but at least one never lacked something 
to shoot at. Hares, also were quite plentiful, while waterdeer might be 
put up at any moment from the reeds that fringed the streams along 
the valley bottoms. At the heads of the valley, where the natives had 
made small reservoirs to keep up a supply of water for their paddy 
fields, large flocks of duck might be had. 

The hills were low, and, except where the scrub had been burnt 
away, afforded good cover. Our best day was when we beat through 
the country half way between San-chieh and the next station south- 
ward. We commenced by driving through some scrub-oak to the east of 
the railway, where a couple of birds were bagged. Next, after crossing 
some rather bare hills, we suddenly came upon a large bouquet of hand- 
some cocks, out of which four were secured, before the last bird dis- 
appeared over the ridge. Continuing, a couple of hares and some 
quail were potted as we crossed a valley. We had now worked back 
to the railway line, crossing which we traversed a wide valley. In 


doing so we got rather scattered. My companions worked up the val- 
ley, and I could hear their guns every now and again. Just as I reach- 
ed the stream, I caught a glimpse of a water deer, scrambling round 
a corner of the bank. It got away, however, before I could draw on it. 
Turning down stream, I walked for some time through very pretty 
cover, picking up a quail here and there, and securing another brace of 

Finally I worked back to the railway, where the lunch-basket 
coolies were waiting. One of these said he could show me where a 
deer was, so off I went with him. Sure enough, within a couple of 
hundred yards, we put up my water deer again out of some reeds. My 
first barrel of fours only got its body, and it continued as if unhurt, 
but my second, taking it in the head, brought it down with a thud. 

Soon my companions arrived at the place of rendezvous, and we 
counted the bag. It contained about six brace of pheasants, two 
hares, one water deer and about fifteen quail. Our bags, we were told 
by a local sportsman, were nothing compared with those which "had 
been made in the same locality earlier in the season, but we were all 
pleased enough, and two days later boarded the up bound train, feeling 
that the week had not been wasted, and promising ourselves another 
such outing, come next Chinese New Year. 



PARTRIDGES like the quail, the peacock, the guinea-fowl and the 
turkey belong to the great pheasant family, Phasianidae. It is re- 
markable with how great a variety of game birds we are supplied 
by this family, the members of which differ from the grouse in the 
legs being naked and armed usually with spurs. 

The Phasiianidae are again divided into three sub-families, namely, 
the Phasianinae, which includes the pheasants (as dealt with in a pre- 
vious paper), Perdicinae, which includes the Old World partridges and 
quails, and Odontopliorinae, including the American partridges and 

With the first we have already dealt, while the last need not 
concern us for the present. This paper deals only with a few members 
of the second, Perdicinae, though in passing it may be mentioned that 
the last two sub-families include over one hundred and fifty distincc 

The main characteristics of the partridges are (1) that in the wing 
the tenth flight feather is shorter than the first, and (2) that the tail 
is shorter than the wing. It will be seen on examination that the 
quails come in this group, but I shall not deal with them in this paper, 
confining my remarks to the two genera Perdix and Caccabis. 

The genus Perdix is represented in Great Britain by the gjrey 
partridge (Perdix cincrea), so familiar to all, and in China by two 
species, the bearded partridge (P. daurica) and the Kansu partridge 
(P. sifanicus). A fourth species, P. hodgsoni, is found in Southern 
Thibet. These four species represent what may be called the true 
partridges, the first two having eighteen tail feathers and the last two 
only sixteen. 

The form common to most parts of China is the bearded partridge. 
(P. daurica}, which very closely resembles the British common or 
grey partridge, (P. cinerca). It is, however, more yellow in colour, 
arid is remarkable for its very distinct beard of long feathers, depend- 
ing from the throat. In size it about equals the grey partridge, though 
8 13 


it differs somewhat in its habits and haunts. It ranges all over North 
China, across Mongolia into Siberia. 

This bird inhabits all kinds of country. Coveys may be flushed 
in the thick patches of sage brush on the open plains or away up on 
the long, grassy slopes of the highest mountains up to an altitude of 
9,000 or 10,000 feet. Unlike the chukar, it is perfectly silent, and, 
at the first sign of danger, crouches down and lies very close. I have 
sat for an hour within a few feet of a covey of these birds, which only 
broke cover when I rose abruptly to go. Perdix sifanicus inhabits 
Southern Kansu. 

In South China the partridge is replaced by the francolin. (Franco- 
linus chinensis) a bird included in the same sub-family, but differing 
from the true partridges in having one or more pairs of well developed 

The red-legged partridges or chukars, which form the genus 
Caccabis, differ very markedly from the members of the genus Perdix. 
They are larger, and more strikingly coloured, and have very different 
habits. They are mainly characterized by their conspicuous trans- 
versely barred sides, a cream patch on the throat, edged with black, 
and their red legs and beaks. The rest of their plumage is of a mauve- 
grey, shading into light blue-grey on the breast, and buff under the 
tails. The tail feathers, which number fourteen are of a bright brick- 
red colour. 

There are several species in this genus. The representative 
in Great Britain is known as the French partridge (Caccabis rufa), while 
the form common to China is the chukar (Caccabis chukar), which 
ranges from the Grecian Islands right across Asia into North-eastern 

The chukar is essentially a bird of wild, rocky districts, though in 
Shansi, Shensi and Kansu it also makes its home in the loess hills, 
frequenting the deep ravines and gullies. From September till March 
it may be found in great coveys, sometimes containing as many as 
forty birds. Though, owing to its protective colouring,, it is extremely 
difficult to detect in its natural surroundings, the chukar has a foolish 
habit, of cackling, thus betraying its whereabouts to the hunter. In 
districts where it is plentiful its aggressive cackle may be heard on all 
sides, when a careful survey will usually reveal several rival cock birds 
perched upon prominent rocks and spurs, giving full vent to their feel- 
ings over the presence of an intruder. This characteristic call may bo 
rendered by the three syllables "Gua ke he" repeated rapidly five cr 
six times. 

Plate XX. 

THE BEARDED PARTRIDGE (Perdix daurica). 

THE CIIUKAR (Caccabis chultar). 


In cultivated areas the chukar feeds upon gleanings from the fields, 

but in wilder parts it lives upon mosses, lichens, berries and the tender 

shoots of young plants. 

It occurs wherever there are hills or mountains, though it does 

not seem to care for altitudes over 8,000 feet. It is had country indeed 

where the chukar is not to be found. 

The eggs are laid in May, and in July the mothers may be seen 

with their broods of ten or a dozen tiny chicks. The latter can fly in 

August and by September are fully fledged, when as already stated 

they gather into large coveys. 

Throughout the winter these birds are in excellent condition, 

forming a valuable contribution to the menu. A full grown male is 

about the size of a hen pheasant. The Chinese name is Shih chi (Stone 


In China partridge shooting; does not hold the place that it does in 
Great Britain. The reason for this is chiefly that there is very little 
of the right kind of cover, except in out of the way hilly or mountainous 
districts. Cultivation in China differs very markedly from that at 
home. The farmers spend a great deal more time in their fields, 
usually raise two crops a year, and, unlike farmers at home, gather in 
every stalk and blade of vegetation before the winter comes on. All 
this is not calculated to encourage the partridges to leave their safe 
home in the hills, and it is only when driven by hunger during a specially 
cold winter that they will do so. Then, too, as already shown the 
birds themselves differ considerably from those in Europe. The chukar 
keeps to the steep loess hills and ravines, or precipitous rocky ridgas, 
(while the bearded partridge is only plentiful on the open slopes of the 
very higjh mountain ranges. 

Thus he who wishes to indulge in partridge shooting must be 
prepared to travel far and, owing to the nature of the country in- 
habited by these birds, must be prepared to work hard. As a matter of 
fact it is seldom that those, even, who live within easy reach' of part- 
ridge coverts igo out specially for them, preferring rather to take them 
as the chance offers when out after more profitable quarry. 

Still one can recall several occasions when partridges formed the 
main item during a days shoot, and as they were typical of what 
the sport is like in this country they may be recounted. 

One such day, especially, stands out in my memory. It was in 
the early spring of 1910, when my wife and I were returning from a 
winter's work in the mountains of Western Shansi. We had just 
left behind some magnificent forest country, and were travelling down 


the wide valley of the Fen Eiver. Chancing to look down from my 
pony, I saw a large covey of bearded partridges, which had just 
left the hill side to pick up grain from the road and stubble patches. 
They saw me at. the same time, and commenced running for the 
scrub covered slopes. I nipped off my pony, and walked towards 
the- birds, which now rose with a whirr of wings. I bagged three 
with my two barrels, the rest making good their escape up a side 
ravine. Guessing that it would be a good day for partridges, I got 
my wife to join me, and together we walked along the side of the 
valley. Covey after covey got up, each yielding a bird or two. We 
could have got more out of each covey if we had cared to climb the 
hill sides, but the sport was quite good enough as it was. The peculiar 
thing on this particular day was that the bearded partridges and 
chukars were associating together. Notably was this the case in a 
small side ravine where we had really excellent sport. A large covey 
got up from some graves and entered the ravine, into which I follow- 
ed them. Suddenly from all round me they broke cover, and I was 
kept busy shooting and reloading as fast as I could. Meanwhile my 
wife was at the mouth of the ravine taking, or trying to take those 
birds that came whirring out. She succeeded in dropping a couple, 
which was pretty good work, considering the rate they were going at. 
I got five before the last crossed the top of the ravine, and then con- 
tinued to follow them up. Once more putting them up in the next 
ravine, I secured another couple. After that we gave up shooting, 
and hurried on to our destination. Altogether we got fifteen partridges, 
one hare and about twenty rock-doves that day. 

About twenty miles east of Tai-yuan Fu, there is a village, tuck- 
ed up against the side of some rather high hills. It is known as 
T^-yeh-k'ou, and has long been famous to the foreign residents in 
the city as being the best chukar ground in the district. Many a 
time have I come down from the holiday resort further back in the 
hills to the loess terraces just behind this village, and bagged four 
or five birds in the course of an hour or so. The only reason why a 
person, working alone as I was, does not get a larger bag, is that the 
chukars, after the first shot or two, always cross the deep ravines to 
the opposite slope, so that a long climb is necessary to come up with 
them again. When, however, a party of four or five guns works over 
such a piece of country, very handsome bags may be made. 

One such party, including six guns returned from a week end 
trip with some fifty head, the sportsman who had done best having 
to his credit twenty birds. The actual time of shooting on that occa- 


sion was an hour on the Saturday evening, and fronV dawn till J nbon J 
on the Sunday, the rest of the time being occupied in getting to 
and from the grounds. 

When shooting chukar, one must mark down a wounded bird 
very carefully, or it will be lost. Many very remarkable disappear- 
ances have occurred. Once, having winged a bird, and, owing to 
shortage of ammunition, not wishing to expend another cartridge on 
it, I gave chase. The bird kept just out of reach, so finally I took 
iny eyes off it as I stooped to pick up a stone. When I looked up 
the bird was gone. It was on a bare hillside with next to no cover, 
yet that bird had vanished as completely as if it had been swallowed 
up in the earth. I went over the whole slope, foot by foot, but never 
found my bird. 

On another occasion I dropped one into a ravine, and, though I 
carefully marked the spot where it fell before descending, it took me 
half an hour to find it. It had posed itself beside a rock and looked 
so exactly like a stone that I passed and repassed it several times. 

The best sport may be had with these birds by using a dog, when 
also one is not so likely to lose those brought down. 

Localities accessible to Tientsin sportsmen are not very numerous. 
The whole of Shansi and the provinces westward form good chukar 
grounds, as also do all the mountainous districts of Chihli. Very 
good chukar shooting may be had round Kalgan, and I believe there 
are a few birds on the hills at Tong-ku. Peking sportsmen often get 
them in the hills at Nankou. 



QUAILS are the smallest of all game birds, though whether they 
are the least sporting; is quite another question. 

They belong to the genus Coturnix, which in turn is included in 
the partridge sub-family of the pheasant family, and are characterized 
by having the most extreme form of the partridge type of wing, which 
means that the first flight feather is almost as long as the second and 
very much longer than the tenth. Otherwise they are distinguishable 
by their very much smaller size. 

In all there are not more than about three species of Coturnix, 
though there are a few closely related forms. 

The common, or migratory quail (Coturnix communis) has a very 
wide range indeed, being found all over Europe, in North Africa and 
in Asia north of the Himalayas. Though it enters China, while on its 
migrations, it is not the real inhabitant of this country. The quail 
generally seen out here is the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). 
The only other member of this genus is Coturnix capensis found in 
South Africa. Both of these two latter species interbreed with the 
migratory quail. 

Locally we have another bird, which is very like the quail, 
and which, from a sporting point of view might be classed with it. 
I refer to the bustard-quail (Turnix). The local birds belong to 
the species T. blanfordi. They are about the size of the 
Japanese quail, but their plumage differs considerably. In general 
colour the two species are not unlike one another, except that the male 
of the bustard -quail is lighter and more reddish than either the male or 
female of the Japanese quail, while the female of the former is very 
much darker and more inclined to greyness than in either sex of the 
latter. The chief difference in the plumage lies in the markings, which 
take the form of longitudinal streaks and transverse bars in the Japan- 
ese quail, while the feathers of the bustard-quail are marked with large 
round dots of black. The beak of the latter is longer than that of the 
former, but the most marked difference in the two species is the entire 
absence of the hind toe in the bustard-quail. Another peculiarity in 
the last mentioned species is that the female is larger and more richly 

Plate XXI. 

(Crossoptilon manchuricunn). 

THE BAIKAL OR SPECTACLED TEAL (Qiterquedula formosa). 


coloured than the male. This feature also occurs in the case of 
the painted snipe, and it is a fact that the bustard-quails form 
a connecting link between the pheasants and the rails, just as 
the painted snipe is intermediate between the rails and the true 
snipe. The quails in India all belong to the bustard-quail type. 
The local species inhabits the long sedgegrass in and round marshy 
districts, and not infrequently offers a shot when one is out after snipe. 

Quail shooting as a sport reaches its height in North Africa, where 
the sportsmen annually await the vernal and autumnal migrations with 
impatience. During these seasons enormous bags are made. In Great 
Britain very little is done in this line, though, I believe, an attempt is 
being made to encourage the quail to breed in districts where other 
game will not thrive. 

As a matter of fact very good sport can be had from quail, though 
shooting them is not nearly so difficult as is the case with most other 

In China, where quails are plentiful, one can soon get very keen; 
though where they mix with pheasants and other game birds, their 
scent is so attractive to hounds, and they offer such tempting marks as 
they rise and skim over the tops of the bushes, they are apt to 
spoil more serious sport. 

Quails are prevalent all over North China, where there is flat open 
country. They do not frequent hilly country except where the hills are 
low and rolling. In Shansi they are very numerous in the wide river- 
valleys. On the Tai-yuan Fu plain I have often had very good sport, 
though I have never made big bags. There they are very useful in 
filling up gaps in mixed bags. As one walks through the sage brush, 
tall grass and bean patches looking for hare and partridges, one is 
frequently startled by a whirr of tiny wings as a quail rises from one's 
very feet. At the report of the ensuing shot a second bird almost 
invariably gets up, offering another good chance. 

In the winter of 1911, on our ride into Shensi, we found them very 
numerous along the road side, a day's journey south west of Tai-yuan 
Fu. Those of my companions who had shotguns had excellent sport, as 
my pointer worked backward and forward in the long sedge-grass, 
putting up bird after bird. Some dozen birds were secured thus in less 
than half an hour, all the time that could be spared. 

While camping on the banks of the Fen Ho in the same district, 
I invariably had good sport with quails, while visiting my traps, usually 
bringing home two or three brace. Here they would get up from bare 
fields, or where the merest whisp of cover lay. 


Quail may be found round Tientsin, though they are not over 
abundant. I believe the best place for them is behind the llussian 
Concession. They; are fairly plentiful round Shan-hai-kuan, from, and, 
beyond which place most o! the birds sold in the local markets come. 

As mentioned in my. paper on pheasants we found them very 
plentiful last winter in Anhui, along the southern section of the 
Tsiiig-pu line, which district is certainly the best quail ground I have 
yet encountered. Here they may be found in the shallow valleys, and 
also upon the low hills, though they seemed most plentiful in the long 
grass immediately bordering on the streams. It was an almost in- 
variable rule, that the birds were in pairs, one usually getting up after 
its mate had been flushed and shot at. These birds were of a good 
size and very plump. During the week that we were in the district 
fifty quail were bagged, and it must be understood that we only shot 
quail when there was nothing else in view. Dozens of birds were 
allowed to go unmolested lest pheasants should be put up out of range. 
Ten to fifteen brace could easily be bagged a day in this locality, if a 
man were to give his attention to it. 

In shooting quail it should be remembered that their flight is very 
much slower than it appears to be. Also their course is not erratic, 
like that of the snipe, nor are they on the rise. After the first spring 
into the air they keep pretty level, and if undisturbed will soon light 
again. They should be allowed to get a fair distance before one pulls 
on them, and if one is without a retriever, should be marked down at 
once. Otherwise they are liable to be lost, their protective colouring 
making them very difficult to find. 

A quail that has once risen is very hard to flush a second time 
without a dog. This is due to the fact that they run as soon as they 
light, and one is apt to beat about in the wrong direction. As a rule 
it is as well not to waste time in such cases, but to walk straight on 
till another bird gets up. 

In India the quail (bustard-quail) is chased on horse back. When 
a bird gets up the riders pursue it at top speed. It out-distances them 
and alights, but is soon put up again. Each time its flight is shortened 
till at last it refuses to fly, when a careful search will reveal it crouch- 
ing on the ground. It may then be taken by hand. 

Quails are charming little birds to have in an aviary, and very soon 
become tame. Being ground birds they keep to the bottom of the cage 
and do not interfere in any way with the other inmates. They are 
very easy to keep. The Chinese use them for fighting,, pitting one cock 
against another, and betting on the result. The birds display a 
considerable degree of pugnacity in these encounters. 



PERHAPS the finest of all game birds are the bustards, several very 
large species of which occur in different parts of the world. The 
larger kinds may well be classed as big game, for apart from their 
magnificent appearance, they offer splendid sport, especially in a flat 
country where they are plentiful. Birds of a fine species inhabit, 
during the winter months, many a broad valley and plain, 
such as those on which the capitals of Shansi and Shensi lie. Here 
they feed in large flocks, often numbering twenty or thirty head. A 
particularly fine stretch of country for them lies to the north west of 
the chain of high mountains that runs from Ning-wu Fu in Shansi 
down the western part of that province past Tai-yuan Fu and Fen- 
chow Fu. Here the country is undulating, and consists of low grassy 
hills and cultivated fields, and in a day's ride one may see ten or a 
dozen flocks without straying far from the road. 

The open nature of the country on which it is found, together with 
the keen sight of the bustard make it a very difficult bird to approach. 
Its great height enables it to overlook many of the small banks and ridges 
of earth that mark the boundaries of the fields, and even if the sports- 
man succeeds in approaching his quarry under cover of some water- 
course or sunken road, the moment he shows himself to take aim, the 
watchful birds spy him, and take to their wings. 

To attempt hunting bustards on foot is almost useless, besides 
being exceedingly tiring; for unless one is in country where they are 
particularly plentiful one often has to cover a large tract before even 
seeing the game. Another thing is that they suspect any person on foot 
of mischievous intent far more readily than they do a man on horse back. 

For bustard hunting 1 would advise the use of a rifle in preference 
to a shot gun, as one seldom gets near enough to make the latter weapon 
effective. However, with a little luck one can sometimes bring down 



a bird or too with the shot gun, by charging on horse back at racing speed 
into a flock, taking flying shots as they get under weigh. 

Armed with a good rifle or carbine, mounted on a strong but quiet 
China pony, and accompanied by an attendant, also well mounted, one 
is ready for the chase. Some previous knowledge of the favourite spots 
of the local birds is necessary. Sandy river beds and the cultivated 
fields bordering them are generally worth exploring. By keeping the 
ponies at a comfortable trot one can cover a lot of 1 country in a remark- 
ably short time, and can at the same time keep a sharp look out for any 
sign of the quarry. If possible ride with the back to the sun, in which 
case the sunny side of the bustard is presented to the hunter, and the 
white of the wing and breast can be seen at a great distance. If the 
shady side is presented to the sportsman, he will often fail to see the 
birds till they have become alarmed at his approach, and take to their 

Having sighted the birds, the sportsman should halt and take a 
careful survey of the surrounding ground, looking out for irrigation canals 
or any other cover. If there is none the best thing for him to do is to 
make a big circuit round the bustards, gradually drawing nearer till 
within range. Then, handing the reins of his pony to the attendant, 
and slipping out of the saddle on the side away from the flock, he should 
allow the man to ride on with the horses, who should at once begin to 
edge away. This device deceives the wary birds, whose united gaze is 
concentrated on the horses. It fools them into the belief that they are 
not going to be molested, and, if the dismounting has been neatly done 
without any commotion, and the hunter has dropped flat on his belly, 
the bustards will not notice him and will resume their feeding. He can 
then carefully select his bird and take his time about aiming. Needless 
to say, accurate shooting is very necessary, for Che vulnerable area of 
the bustard is far less than the mark presented. It is almost useless 
trying to get a second bird out of the same flock on the same day ; 
indeed it is difficult to get a second shot if the first fails. For my 
part I feel very satisfied if I return at the end of the day with a single 
bird hanging from my saddle, for bustard shooting is one of the most 
difficult of sports. 

If the birds take to their wings before one has had time to fire, 
one should get to horse with all speed and follow them, not being dis- 
couraged if they seem to vanish over the horizon. A bird in the air is 
a most 'deceptive thing and it looks a great deal farther off than it 
really is. Many times I have watched a flock of bustards fly out of 
sight and then, jumping upon my pony, have come upon them within 
a mile or so. 


Perhaps the recounting of a few experiences would serve better to 
give the reader some idea of bustard hunting than the above general 

Never shall I forget my first bustard. I was travelling in Shensi 
at the time and we were nearing Si-an Fu. My companion had had 
the misfortune to sprain his ankle severely some days before, and was 
obliged to keep to the saddle, so that when we reached some flat country 
where bustards were plentiful, it fell to my lot to secure one for the 
pot. Several times I tried stalking the wary birds, but without success. 
Once I managed to get within twenty yards of a flock, but, though I 
emptied both barrels of my shotgun into the nearest bird, I could not 
bring iti down. 

We then resorted to the method I have just described. My com- 
panion took the reins of my pony and we described a circle round a 
large flock, slowly drawing nearer till within about one hundred and 
fifty yards. At this point we passed behind some graves. I seized the 
opportunity to slip off my pony, and, with the graves between me and 
the birds, managed to get a few yards nearer. Then, resting my rifle on 
the top of a grave, I fired, and was delighted to see a bird collapse in a 
heap. My delight was somewhat lessened, when I found that I had 
hit the bird in the head, which was some ten or twelve inches higher 
than I had aimed. Still the bird was there and it tasted well when 

A year later I successfully performed the same feat, this time 
accompanied by my wife. We were travelling over the flat country 
west of Ning-wu Fu in Shansi. All day we had been trying to get 
within range of some bustards, but each time had met with failure. 
Once I managed to sneak up a little watercourse to within range, but 
before I could take aim the birds began to fly off. Another time I was 
creeping along the ground towards a flock, when two Chinese with a 
donkey came in the opposite direction, and when I rose to my knees to 
take aim the birds had gone and in their place were two grinning asses 
and one sober one. My feelings on that occasion can better be 
imagined than described. Once again I was approaching a flock, when 
a native came blundering along, upsetting my calculations, so that I 
only knocked the tail off my bird as it rose. This last flock flew over 
a low ridge and we followed it in the hope that the bird I had hit might 
be more severely wounded than we supposed. We failed to find that 
flock again, but just as we were about, to return to the road to continue 
our journey, my eye caught a gleam of light about half a mile away 
on a gentle slope. ,We turned our ponies in that direction and soon 
found my conjectures to be correct. Six or seven magnificent birds 


were quietly feeding in a ploughed field. We rode as if to pass them, 
and, when within about one hundred yards of them, I slipped out 
of my saddle, and crouched low. My wife rode on leading my pony, 
while I covered a couple of birds that stood close together. Slowly 
advancing I kept my rifle sight on the birds, and just as they spread 
their wings to fly, fired and brought one down. It was a beautiful bird 
weighing a little over 18^ Ibs. 

The following day we tried the same experiment several times 
without success. The ponies were too fresh and restive, and would not 
allow me to dismount without capering about, so that the birds took 
alarm each time. Two days later I secured another 18 pounder and 
then two others weighing 17 Ibs. and 14 Ibs. respectively. 

A bit of stalking that gave me particular satisfaction at the time 
and still does as I call it to mind was brought off on the Tai-yuan Fu 
plain. Two of us were out after hares, and as we drove through the 
sage brush a flock of bustards was seen coming in the opposite direction. 
The birds flew past us,- and settled about a quarter, of a mile away on a 
sandy flat near the river. My servant was with me carrying my rifle, 
so I decided to attempt a shot. 1 was able to make about a hundred 
yards on foot owing to a slight depression in the ground, but from there 
on I was forced to creep on my hands and knees through the under 
brush, which was, by the way, far from thick. It was tiring work, 
but at last I reached the spot, from which I had hoped to take my shot. 
The bustards had, however, flown another hundred yards up the river 
so I was forced to continue on hands and knees still further. A bare 
field in front of me made it necessary to make a rather long detour in 
order to escape observation, but at last 1 got within range, and could 
just see one bird between the bushes ahead of me. After a few mo- 
ments rest 1 took a long and careful aim, bringing down my bird with 
a shot right through the body. 

Once again while out ofter geese on the iSi-an Fu plain in Shensi I 
came upon a couple of bustards. I was alone, and there was absolutely 
no cover, so hobbling my pony, I advanced upon the birds. They 
walked away from me, but did not attempt to fly and at last I was 
within sixty yards of the larger, when I managed to shoot it through 
the body. It rose into the air, and flew some three hundred yards, 
before it came heavily to the ground, and lay dead. 

It will thus be seen that with bustards, as with most other game, 
one can not work entirely by rule, but must depend upon the circum- 
stances of each case and one's own judgment to decide how to proceed. 

The Chinese distinguish two kinds of bustards in North China. One 
is a large bird weighing anything from fifteen to twenty pounds. It is 



characterized by the tail feathers being brown and white, tipped with 
black, and it is seldom seen in flocks consisting of more than five or six 

THE BUSTARD (Otis dybowskii). 

Ttis is referrable to the species Otis dybowskii. It is very, much 
like the great bustard (0. tarda). One I saw weighed 28 Ibs. They 
very frequently weigh from 15 Ibs. to 20 Ibs. The Chinese call this 
bird "Yang-pu" (Sheep bustard) as opposed to the smaller "Chi-pu" 
(Hen bustard). The latter is not really distinct, being nothing more 
than the females or young males of the former. 

The Chinese hunt the bustard by digging pits in the ground, and 
setting out decoys. They will sit patiently in these pits day after day, 
and feel repaid for their labour if they secure two or three birds a 
week. The decoys are made from the skins of bustards, which are 
stuffed with straw and stuck upon sticks. The life-like nature of these 
dummies once gave rise to an amusing incident, which befell a party 
of us, while out shooting on the Tai-yuan Fu plain. 

We had been after geese all the morning, and had not done badly, 
so that, when three bustards were sighted, we hailed the idea of a 
bustard each as a welcome change. Accordingly we dismounted from 
our ponies, and began a long and careful stalk. One of our party was 


armed with a .22 repeating Winchester rifle, and we decided that, when 
within range, he should fire first, while the other, two of us should take 
the remaining birds as they rose. At last, after toiling over the 
muddy ground in the broiling sun, we were within range, and our 
friend of the rifle took careful aim and fired. Nothing happened so 
he fired again. Next moment a face appeared over the edge of 
a low ridge, and a voice asked, in amused tones, what we were doing. 
It was not till then that we discovered that we had been stalking some 
decoys. That time the laugh was with the Chinaman. 

Allied to the bustard, almost as good eating and quite as difficult 
to shoot, is the edible crane. In some places this bird is very numer- 
ous, and can be hunted in the same way as the bustard. 

One of the most delightful spots for birds that I have come across 
in my wanderings was some flat grassy country situated near the 
southern border of the Ordos. For miles around the country was aii 
arid sandy desert, but here, where a few marshy lakes existed, the 
flats were dotted over with huge flocks of cranes and bustards, geese 
wandered in pairs in every direction, while the surface of the water 
was alive with thousands of ducks, whose wings made a noise like 
thunder as they rose at our approach. Plovers, curlews and other 
waders filled the air with their plaintive calls. Unfortunately we 
had a long way to go that day, so that we could not spare the time 
to stop and shoot. 

The bustard leaves the warmer plains in the spring and flies 
northward to the breeding grounds in Northern Mongolia and Siberia, 
so that it can only be hunted during the colder months. 



TOWARDS the end of February or early in March, when the north 
bound sun begins to thaw the ice and snow of winter, with it come the 
first few bands of geese, the advance guard, as is were, of a mighty host. 
Later, when the spring freshets, coming down from the mountains with 
irresistible force, burst up the yielding ice, and, grinding the 
great slabs into fragments, send them whirling and crashing down 
the river, till they vanish in the angry floods of the flat lands, then 
come the honking battalions of the main army. Immense chains of 
geese pass ever northward : huge flocks in serried ranks feed on the 
fields of young wheat ; while the sandy flats at noon are black with their 
countless numbers. 

The heart of the farmer sinks within him as he sees field after field 
shorn of its emerald coat, but that of the sportsman bounds with- joy as 
the spirit of spring enters his soul, and, seizing his gun, he sallies forth 
to pit his cunning and skill against those of the cleverest of birds. Who 
so glad as he, as he tramps over ploughed field and sandy flat early 
on a fine spring morning, his faculties all alert, planning how best he 
may come within range of his quarry? His eyes search the plains for 
irrigation canals wherein he may hide and await the long V-shaped lines 
that he knows will pass presently over his head. He keeps a sharp look 
out for dykes, along which he may creep till within range of some 
unsuspecting flock greedily plucking up the tender blades of wheat. 

Whether one uses shot gun or rifle there are few sports that excol 
that of igoose shooting. The size of the game together with the skill 
and judgment required to bring it down, make the heart of the hunter 
swell with pride when he returns home after a long day's tramp or ride 
with a good bag. The experienced huniter seldom returns without 
three or four geese, while occasionally a cartload has been the boasted 
bag of an enthusiast in a good piece of country. 


There are some eight species of geese known to occur in North 
China. Of these the bean goose (Anser segetum) and its allies the thick- 
billed goose (A. serrirostris) and the long-billed goose (A. middendorffi) 
are the commonest. These three birds very closely resemble 
each other. The first is the common goose most frequently 
shot by sportsmen, and which occurs so plentifully in the 
local markets in winter. The thick-billed goose may be dis- 
tinguished by its greater size and its very much thicker bill, while the 
long-billed goose is distinguishable by its much longer till. In all three 
the plumage is almost identical. The grey goose (4. rubirostris) is 
a still larger bird, with a greyer plumage. It may also be recognized 
by its pinkish legs and beak, the legs of the other three species being 
of a fine orange, and their beaks black with an orange band. 

Next come the white-fronted goose (A. albifrons) and the little 
white-fronted goose (A. erythropus), both small birds at once distinguish- 
able by the white patch upon the forehead. These are rather rare in 
North China, keeping more to the sea coast while on their migrations. 

The swan goose (A. cygnoides) is another rather rare goose. This 
is the ancestar of the Chinese domestic goose, and is remarkable for its 
very long slender neck and fine markings. 

Finally the brent goose (A. nigricans), which occurs in Japan, must 
be recorded as a straggler to the Chinese coast. It has been shot at 
Wei-hai-wei and also in Fuchow. This bird is easily distinguishable 
from all the foregoing on account of its grey plumage, and black head 
and neck, marked with white. 

The bean goose, so called from its habit of feeding entirely upon 
grain, is a handsome bird weighing from four to seven pounds. It is 
seen in North China during the spring and autumn, on its way to and 
from the breeding grounds in the far nortlhl. 

While migrating it follows the courses of the larger rivers and is then 
much hunted by Chinese for the sake of its feathers. The (method 
employed is similar to that used with the bustard, but without the 
decoys. A deep pit is dug close to the river, and in this the Chinese 
hunter waits till a flock passes or settles within range, when he tries to 
bring one down with his long barrelled gun. 

No doubt there are some Europeans with a sufficient stock of 
patience to follow the example of the worthy Celestial, but such* sport 
can appeal to few, whereas pursuing and stalking the goose on foot 
or on horseback, combining as it does, healthful exercise with the enjoy- 

Plate XXII. 

THE BEAN GOOSE (Anser scgetum). 



ment of shooting, cannot fail to rouse the energetic instincts of members 
of the white races. 

Goose shooting is better enjoyed when shared with two or three 
congenial companions, besides being greatly facilitated. The party 
should ride out to the hunting grounds, when the ponies should be left 
in charge of an intelligent native, who will watch the sportsmen and 
have the ponies in readiness for immediate use, without interfering 
\vith the game. 

If the day is not, far advanced and the air cool, the geese will be 
found flymg to and fro within easy range from the ground in search of 
suitable feeding places. They have been flying probably all night, and, 
being anxious to secure food and rest, will fall an easy prey to the sports- 
men, especially if the latter have concealed themselves behind some 
dyke or other. 

This will not last long, however, and it becomes necessary to stalk 
the geese that have settled in large flocks in every direction on the fields 
of young wheat. The wily birds always keep a sentinel on guard, 
generally an o'ld and experienced gander. It is then that the advantage 
of three or four guns is seen. By the hunters surrounding the geese 
and slowly advancing upon them, the latter become flustered, not being 
able to choose in which direction to fly. As they rise they are 
sure to pass close over one or other of the guns offering 
an easy mark. This process can be repeated till towards 
noon, when the geese, having satisfied their hunger, fly down to 
the nearest river or lake to drink and rest. It is then impossible 
to approach them, and the sportsmen had better abandon the chase 
for the day, or wait till late in the afternoon, when the geese once 
more take to their wings, and prepare to continue their journey north- 
ward or southward according to the season. 

When geese are particularly shy it becomes necessary to resort to 
stratagem. A native cart is not feared by them, and by hiring one 
of these and using it as a cover while the carter drives close to the 
game, one can often make a bag when most other methods have failed. 

In country where geese are plentiful they can often be secured 
by riding at a dead gallop up to them and shooting into the brown of 
the flock as the birds rise. 

With a rifle one can do very well, for though a single goose presents 
but a small mark, they crowd so closely together that a well-directed 
ball seldom fails to knock out a bird. Needless to say this method is 
too dangerous, except when one is alone. 
s 15 


The Tai-yuan Fu plain is a very good place for goose shooting and 
I have enjoyed many a day's outing in company with one or another 
of the foreign residents in that city. We used to ride ; out 
to the river and slowly . work along its course for eight or 1 ten miles. 
On one of these expeditions three of us, armed with shot guns and rifles, 
and having a Peking cart with us, enjoyed particularly good sport. 
The cart came into play in one place with good effect. A flock was 
sighted near the river so that we could not surround it, being able to 
approach from one direction only. There was no cover so we direct- 
ed the carter to drive as if to pass the flock. This he did while we 
kept out of sight behind the cart. When in line with the geese we 
rushed out and let fly, as t'he startled birds rose, bringing down a 
bird each We also brought down several birds as they passed over- 
head earlier in the day, while later on we successfully stalked a large 
flock along a dry irrigation ditch. The bag totalled some dozen head 
that day. 

Geese are hard birds to kill, being very tenacious of life. They 
will often fly for long distances, though severely wounded. When a 
flock has been fired at, the marksman should always watch it out of 
sight, and, if he sees one bird leave the rest, he may know that it is 
wounded, and, following it up, is likely to find it dead in the fields. 

As an example of this, take the following incident. I was out 
hunting with my wife along the Fen Ho near Tai-yuan Fu. We had 
been having good sport with hare and quail, and were returning to 
our camp. Just as we crossed a dyke that ran along the edge of a 
deep irrigation canal, we saw several lines of geese approach- 
ing us. I ran back to the dyke, and crouched behind it till 
the geese were directly overhead, when I fired, first at one goose and 
then at another in rapid succession. The line continued unbroken for 
a bit, but presently I noticed one bird break away and fly across the 
river. It, described a wide circle as it slowly descended, and finally 
struck the ground, rolling over and over. Marking the spot I hurried 
back to send a man to fetcb my goose. There ensued an argument as 
to where the goose was, my wife declaring it to be in one direction, 
while I was equally positive that it was in another. We decided to 
send the man to both places, and to our surprise and delight he re- 
turned two geese. Both my shots had told, and my wife had 
watched one of the wounded birds, while I watched the other. 

On another occasion I fired at a flock of geese with my rifle. I saw 
the dust caused by the bullet striking the ground beyond the geese, 


which rose and flew northwards. I was about to turn away, when I 
noticed one goose leave the others and fly down to the river about a 
quarter of a mile away. I hurried to the spot, and sure enough there 
was a fine goose lying dead with a hole right through its body. 

Once when two of us were out for a day's sport along the banks 
of the Fen Ho we found that the geese were very wild. We could not 
approach them, so we devoted our time to smaller game. At last we 
turned our ponies' heads homewards, and were riding along, chatting 
as we went, when suddenly a flock of geese rose on our right, and tried 
to cross in front of us, as they flew towards the river. Noticing that 
they were keeping low I set spurs to my pony and he bounded forward. 
The geese saw me coming and tried to swerve away, but they were 
too late, and, letting drive at them with both barrels, I knocked out 
a couple. A little while later my friend successfully brought off a 
beautiful long shot with his rifle. 

A little over a year ago (1909) I enjoyed an excellent day's sport 
out on the Si-an Fu plain. The geese were particularly plentiful there. 
I was alone, and had my rifle and shot gun with me. A cart had been 
hired for the day, but I found the geese were quite easy to approach 
without it. The wind was a bit troublesome and spoilt several rifle 
shots, but I managed to bag five geese during the morning. At noon 
they cleared off to the mud flats of the river so I devoted my attention 
for a little while to some ducks. Later on a hare came in for a fatal 
dose of shot, and was added to the bag; while the day's proceedings 
wound up with a successful shot at a fifteen pound bustard. 

Number One Shot is the best to use for geese, while either a 12 or 
16 bore gun can be used. The latter weapon sometimes does better 
work than the former for it hits harder. I was out with a friend one 
day, who carried a 16 bore shotgun, while I used a 12 bore. The geese 
were rather shy, and we could not get very close. Nevertheless, my 
friend never failed to bring down his bird out of each flock that we 
stalked, while I had to be content with a few feathers. That I was not 
missing was proved by the feathers that came floating down each time 
I fired. It was simply that tihie range was too great for my gun, but not 
for the 16 bore. We were using the same make of cartridge. 

If a rifle is to be used, then one with a fairly heavy bore should 
be chosen. A high velocity rifle is too dangerous to use on the plains 
of North China, as one can never be sure where the ball will fetch up. 
One may find oneself in trouble for having let daylight through a native 
or his cow. A small, ; light bore rifle will not easily kill a goose. 
The finest spot that I know of in North China is undoubtedly the valley 


of fhie Wei Ho, the river on which is situated the capital of Shensi. 
During my stay in those parts my larder never lacked game. Wild 
ducks, also, were particularly plentiful, while bustards and cranes were 
to be found in large flocks. I have seen photographs of enormous bags 
made in this district, in fact one might look upon the country surround- 
ing Si-an Fu as a sportsman's paradise. Immediately south of this 
plain there stretches a range of precipitous mountains. At one extrem- 
ity of this range is ,the famous Hua Shan, and at the other the mighty 
Tai-pei Shan, which rises to a height of 12,000 ft. Along these moun- 
tains can be found the serow (a species of goat-like antelope), the takin, 
the wild boar, the stag, the roedeer and the goral, to say nothing 
of smaller game. 

A collector friend, writing to me from this district, said that they 
had in their larder at tlhie time of writing the following kinds of game : 
goat-ox, goat-antelope, venison, wild boar, goose, duck, pheasant 
and hare. 

Before closing this paper, I must just mention the swan, three 
species of which have been recorded in China. The first, and com- 
monest is the whistling swan (Cygnus musicus). This is a magnificent 
bird, which may be seen in small flocks from time to time. A few 
Europeans have been fortunate enough to secure one, but it falls to 
the lot of most sportsmen only to view them from a distance. In 
the winter of 1912-13 swans of this species occurred in enormous 
numbers in certain districts in Southern Anhui. Here they might be 
seen, literally in thousands upon certain flooded areas, but they proved 
absolutely unapproachable, only one European being fortunate enough 
to secure one with . a rifle shot. 

The second species is C. jankowskii, and is considerably smaller 
than the foregoing. The plumage is pure white, while the base of the 
beak is of a pale yellow, not orange-yellow as in C. musicus. It occurs 
very plentifully. 

Th& other species (C. olor) has been recorded only twice, once in 
North China and once on the Yang-tze. 



As the sportsman traverses moor and fen in quest of this wary game, 
or crosses the inland lakes during some week-end trip, he frequently 
sees birds belonging to the great family of Anatidae, which, though he 
recognises for something he can certainly include under the heading of 
duck, yet fails to further identify; nor does he know anything of 
their habits, except that annually they pass to and from the great breed- 
ing grounds somewhere in the far north'. 

The object, then, of these few remarks, is to assist local sportsmen 
in the identification of some of the many peculiar looking ducks that 
will doubtless fall to their guns this season. Often a very rare bird goes 
to swell some fowler's bag, with only a passing comment; whereas an 
intelligent recognition of the numerous species met with adds greatly 
to the interest and enjoyment of a day's sport. 

First amongst Asiatic and European ducks is the common wild duck 
or mallard (Anas boscas). This handsome bird heads the list not merely 
because of its superiority from a gastronomic point of view, but because 
it is par excellence a sporting bird. It is more numerous than any of 
the other species (except perhaps the common teal), and whether 
stalking, flight shooting, or the use of decoys be resorted to, it offers 
the best sport. There is no need to describe the appearance of this 
familiar bird. It is the ancestor of nearly all our domestic breeds, 
which fact, alone testifies to the superiority of its flavour. 

Breeding in the far north, it often winters in the milder parts of 
the northern provinces of China, and may be found in enormous numbers 
in Honan, and South-central Shensi. Especially is it numerous in the 
Wei Valley and along the Yellow Kiver in these two provinces. Here 
record bags may be made from November to February, without resort- 
ing to any of the many methods usually employed by fowlers. One has 
but to walk over the rice fields or along the streams, debouching from 
the mountains, and take the ducks as they rise. Several birds may be 
brought down with each shot, so thickly 3o they crowd upon the narrow 


The food of the mallard, consists as does that of most other species, 
of the seeds and shoots of water weeds, and the gleanings of the paddy 
fields. At night they will even feed upon the corn fields, though dawn 
always finds them once more in the vicinity of water. 

Next to the mallard comes the equally common and well known 
teal (Querquedula crecca). An interesting fact about birds generally may 
here be noted. It is that the members of those species which are con- 
sidered the best eating, are usually more numerous than those whose 
flesh is inferior or worthless. It is so with the ducks, and also with 
the snipe. The mallard and teal are certainly more numerous than any 
other kind of duck, while it is equally certain that during a day's snipe 
shooting one sees more snipe than members of any other species. In 
good scrub country what bird occurs in greater numbers than the 
pheasant, or in tihe loess hills than the partridge? What non-edible 
birds, except the crows perhaps, does one see in such vast numbers ag 
the wild goose, the quail, the sandgrouse or the rockdove? 

To return to our subject: the teal, like the mallard, is so well 
known that a description is needless. It is sufficient to say that where 
the mallard is found, there also will the teal be : the (two species follow 
each other, and may often be seen in one large flock together. They 
arrive earlier than any of the other ducks and stay longer. 

There is a peculiar satisfaction in browning a flock of teal, which 
is often the only way of getting them, for they fly so fast, and keep so 
close together that it is impossible to pick out single birds. Teal occur 
in larger flocks than any other duck, and may sometimes be numbered 
in thousands, though this is usually when several large flocks join 
together in a long migration. 

It is difficult to decide which of all the numerous species should 
come next in the list, and 1 shall not attempt to arrange them, but 
take them haphazard, just as one might do while sitting comfortably 
or uncomfortably behind some sheltering rushes, as the unsuspecting 
birds come whistling over-head at dusk or dawn. 

The pin-tail duck (Dafila acuta) is another well known species, 
with its exceptionally long frrown and white neck, long pointed tail, 
and grey vermiculated plumage. This species is good eating, and in 
places is very numerous. It winters, however, very much further south 
than is usual with the two foregoing species. The female, in common 
with all wild ducks is smaller than the male, and of an inconspicuous 
brown colour. 

Not unlike the pintail is the long-tailed duck (Harclda glacialis). 
This is a very rare bird. Its plumage is mostly white, the breast, back 
and wings being black. 

Plate XXI1L 


The golden-eye (Clangula glauciori), so called because of its bright 
yellow staring eye, is also very common, though it is nob often that a 
male of this species is brought to bag. This is due chiefly to the 
unusual fact that the ducks greatly outnumber the drakes. Also the 
drakes are very much shyer, and fly faster than do the ducks. 
The drake is of a shiny blue-black colour with a white breast, 
white-barred wings, and with a white dot on the side of the head. It is 
somewhat smaller than the mallard. Its beak is short and thick, more 
like that of a goose, while the body is very flat, the legs seeming to 
stick out from the sides. The duck is of a brown-black colour, with a 
brown head and white only on the wings, and under-parts. 
This species invariably feeds upon certain weeds that grow at the 
bottoms of ponds or backwaters, and consequently has to dive for its 
food. It stays under water for minutes at a time, so that, if the fowler 
can creep up to a flock feeding, he may get shot after shot as those 
birds under water, unaware of what is happening, come leisurely to the 
surface for air, and then, taking to their wings, offer excellent marks. 
In this way a friend and I once got seven birds out of a flock of fifteen. 
Even when disturbed these ducks will often circle over the pond offering 
several shots before they leave for some safer locality. The flesh of 
this bird is very good eating, and is covered with an unusually thick 
layer of fat. 

The shoveller (Spatula clypeata) may readily be recognised by its 
unusually large and broad beak, from which indeed it derives its name. 
The male is a very handsome bird with its dark green metallic-lustered 
head, white breast, red-brown belly and sides, delicate blue-grey wing 
coverts, green-barred wings and orange legs and eyes. The female is 
of an uniform mottled brown. The flesh of this species is not very 
palatable, being of a course oily flavour. 

In the interior Swinhoe's duck (Anas zonorhyncha) is very* com- 
mon, and it is the only duck that breeds so far south as North Shansi, 
and Chihli. It is of a general brown colour, resembling that of the 
female mallard. Its breast and lower parts are very much darker, 
however, while its legs are of a bright orange-red colour, and there is 
an orange band on the otherwise black beak. It is somewhat larger 
than the mallard, and has a very much longer neck. Its flesh is 
excellent. This species is undoubtedly the ancestor of the large brown 
and white, upright-standing ducks, which, fattened by forced feeding, 
form so important a dish at a Chinese feast. These birds can only be 
shot along the rivers and in the marshes of North Shansi and Inner 
Mongolia, very late in the season, for like the cuckoo they arrive from 
the south very late, and are off again comparatively early. Round 


Tientsin they are plentiful as early as the latter part of August, a few 
also breeding in the vicinity. 

The foregoing six species are the commoner varieties found in 
North China. We now come to some of the less common ducks. Of 
these the falcated teal (Unetta falcata) is one of the handsomest though 
not the rarest. It has a dark green head and crest, which reflects a 
coppery sheen in the sunlight. The breast is grey, closely barred with 
black, the sides vermiculated while the black and wings are handsomely 
marked with black and white. Another species is the Mandarin duck 
(Aex galericulata). The Mandarin duck is smaller than the falcated teal 
and has a very pretty hood, and large orange coloured feathers, which 
stand up from the back like miniature wings, giving the bird an unreal 
appearance. It is peculiar, in that it will light on trees, and even builds 
its nest in hollow trunks. I found these birds breeding freely this 
summer, along the streams and rivers of the Manchurian forest country. 
The mothers showed great devotion in the care of their broods, and 
would readily expose themselves within striking distance in their efforts 
to engage my attention, while their young ones escaped into the thick 
underbrush that lined the streams. The call of these birds is a peculiar 
whistling note, repeated rapidly as they fly, low and swift, over the 
water from one feeding place to another. 

The pochard (Nyroca ferina) is another handsome but rare duck 
(at, least in North China.) It is characterized, and may readily be 
recognized by its red-brown head and grey vermiculated body feathers. 
At home, this duck ranks with the mallard as a game bird, and the far 
famed canvas-back of America is only a large kind of pochard. 

Another rather rare duck is the Baikal or spectacled teal (Quer- 
quedula formosd). This bird is larger than the common teal, has a 
beautifully marked head, (dark green and buff), pale pinkish-buff breast 
dotted with black, while the wing coverts are formed of long curved 
pointed feathers, divided longitudinally into buff and a rich red-brown, 
by a black median line. I found this species very common in Anhui 
last winter, and it is sometimes shot in this locality. 

The wigeon (Chaulelasmus streperus) the summer teal or garganey 
(Querquedula circia), the tufted duck (Fuligula cristata) the \vhite-eyed 
pochard (F. fenuginosa) also occur. Of these the summer teal is 
perhaps the most note-worthy as it appears in great numbers after all 
the other duck have gone northward. It closely resembles the female 
of the common teal, but can always be distinguished by the pronounced 
white eyebrow, and slatey-blue colour of the back. 

There are two species of sheldrakes (or sheld-ducks) which some- 
times appear during the migrations. Of these the ruddy sheldrake 

Plate XXIV. 


(Casarca ferrugina) is the more common. This handsome bird is charac- 
terized by its snowy white head, rich orange breast and back, and black 
and white wings marked with a broad green band. It is about the size 
of a small goose, but unfortunately! its flesh is utterly uneatable. It is 
very common during the winter in South Shensi and Honan. In 
migrating it follows the courses of. the large rivers, and may be seen in 
flockg of a dozen or so resting out on the mud flats. 

The common sheldrake (Tadorna cornuta), differs from the fore- 
going species in having a dark green head, and only a little orange en 
the breast and wing coverts. The rest of the body is white, except for 
the black primary feathers and the glossy green band of the wings. 
This species is more of a sea duck than the other, its flesh being quite 

Both species breed in Mongolia, where they have their nests in deep 
horizontal tunnels. The ruddy sheldrake resorts to rocky cairns, while 
the common sheldrake prefers the tussocky shores of lakes. 

Another sea duck' is the velvet scoter (Cidemia carbo), which is 
entirely black except for its bright red and orange coloured bill and legs. 

Finally we come to the Mergansers, peculiar narrow-billed birds, 
which scarcely look like ducks at all. The largest of these is the 
goosander (Mergus castor), which is characterized by a dark green 
head, long narrow, serrated beak, ending in a sharp hook, delicate rose 
coloured breast, dark back and pied wings. This bird is about the size 
of a goose, and is very handsome in appearance, though the flesh is of 
a poor flavour. Like the other members of' this genus the goosander is 
a good diver, while the formation of the bill suggests a fish diet. 

The red-breasted merganser (Mergus serator) resembles the goo- 
sander in shape, though it is considerably smaller. It has a red beak 
similar in shape to that of the latter, reddish-orange legs, dark green 
head, white collar, black, dark brown and grey upper parts, reddish 
brown breast, white underpants, and white upon the wing. It is 
decidedly more common than the goosander, and I have seen it in the 
mountain valleys of western Shansi in mid-winter, where open holes 
in the ice-bound stream provided the means of securing food. 

Lastly there is the smew (Mergus albellus) a small, almost entirely 
white duck, which inhabits the sea shore, rather than inland watering 
places. It also has the serrated bill. 

This list does not pretend to be exhaustive on the question of 
ducks, but local sportsmen are hardlyi likely to come across any other 
species of duck even if they are lucky enough to secure specimens of 
all those mentioned. 

3 16 


It is almost presumptuous of me to offer any tips to Tientsin 
sportsmen on duck shooting, for many of them have years of experience 
behind them. Still, to beginners, the following hints may be of help. 

No. 4 shot is perhaps the best s'ize for duck, used in a 12 bore gun 
with left barrel full "choke." When shooting never fire at birds 
coming head on, but wait till they are just past, and then choose 
birds which are side on, noifc dead overhead. The reason for this is 
two-fold. First an on-coming duck presents only its chest as a mark, 
and the thick feathers pointing backwards cause the shot to glance off. 
Secondly such shot as enter find their way only into the thick muscles 
of the breast and do no vital damage. On the other hand, shot reach- 
ing the bird from behind, below or to one side, travel up the feathers, 
do not glance off, and find lodgment in the vitals, which are protected 
on the side only by the fragile, lightly covered ribs. 

Unless a duck-punt is used it is almost hopeless to try for duck 
except in the early morning or evening, and the best results may be 
had, out here at least, by waiting for the evening flights. To avoid 
disappointment the feeding grounds should be carefully located, and 
the regular lines of flight noted. 

In conclusion the writer would like to suggest that the Tientsin 
sportsmen keep records of the different species of duck, and other 
interesting birds they secure, and send their results to the editors of 
the local papers. 



I>r is probable, that, if a hundred sportsmen were asked what bird 
they considered the most difficult to hit, ninety-nine of them would 
unhesitatingly answer ''the snipe." It may be that the pheasant is 
harder to kill, that the chukar (red-legged partridge) will carry more 
shot, or that the thick feathers of the duck afford it greater protection ; 
but all these birds are comparatively reliable in their habits and fly 
straight, though fast, and so can be readily accounted for by a reason- 
ably good shot. 

The snipe, however, is as uncertain a bird as it is possible to im- 
agine. It rises in unexpected places, sometimes almost out of range, 
sometimes under one's very nose, and as often as not after one has 
passed the spot, where it lay crouched ready to spring like a rocket 
into the air. One may never be sure in which direction the snipe 
will go, and besides being an unusually fast flyer, it often cuts a rapid 
zigzag course, thus adding enormously to the difficulty of bringing 
it down. Again, not only does each bird differ from the last in its 
mode of procedure, but they all vary very considerably with the wea- 
ther and the time of day. Thus on a windy day some birds will stick 
close; while, amongst those that fly>, the tendency is to rise into the 
wind : and in the evening snipe will rise within easy range, when earlier 
in the day it was impossible to get a decent shot. 

To take advantage of the snipe's rising into the wind the sportsman 
walks down wind, only to find that the birds hear his approach sooner 
and so get up at a greater range. 

Then again the ground favoured by\ snipe varies, and the sports- 
man never can be sure just where they will be on the particular day 
he chooses for his outing. Where he found them thick one day there 
will be none the next, and, after having carefully waded through 
likely looking marsh for a couple of hours, he reaches some dry ground 
and slings his gun over his shoulder to light his pipe, up gets a "whisp" 
and with derisive chirps go skimming away out of sight. 

124 SNIPE. 

Snipe, too, are not always easy to see, as they rise amongst the 
reeds, and were it not for the unmistakable warning call they usually 
give, far fewer birds would be brought to bag. 

Thus the man who wishes to make good bags of snipe, besides 
being a good shot, must be as resourceful as his quarry is erratic. 
He must be prepared to change his tactics with the hour and the wind, 
and must have at his back considerable experience and knowledge of 
the game he is after. 

For the beginner a cool head and straight eye will do much, but he 
will be beaten time after time by the unexpected and unfamiliar shots 
presented to him, and he will find that it is only by dint of the careful 
study of his quarry, much practice, and the exercise of considerable 
resourcefulness that he will ultimately excel in snipe shooting. 

Perhaps the following reliable tips may be of use to him: 

1. A snipe going away is invariably on the rise, therefore aim 
high ; when fairly on the move its speed is considerable, therefore aim 
well in front. 

2. Never walk into the sun, for as well as being more or less 
blinded, one is rendered more conspicuous to the birds. By walking 
away from the sun the birds become more conspicuous as they rise, 
and the sportsmen considerably less so. 

3. As a general rule walk down wind, but be ready to change 
if it is found that the birds are getting up too far ahead. 

4. Always take your time when aiming : snap shooting is liable 
to prove disastrous to the beginner. 

5. Unless one has a good retriever, No. 8 or even heavier shot 
should be used ; for though one is more likely to hit with No. 9 shot, 
the birds are not so likely to be killed on the spot, and often drop at 
considerable distances and are hard to find. 

In North China, which is one of the best countries in the world for 
snipe, we have four common species which go by that name, viz. the 
lesser pintail snipe (Gaillinago stenura), Swinhoe's pintail snipe 
(G. megala), the common snipe (G. media) and the painted snipe 
(Rynchea capensis). 

Of these the last is not a true snipe, but is more nearly related to 
the rails, and belongs to a genus of its own (Ryncltea). It is about 
the size of the snipe, and is very much the same shape. It is very 
differently coloured, however, being more handsomely marked, from 
which fact it derives its name. What makes this bird somewhat 
unique is the fact that the female is more richly coloured than the 
male, a characteristic, the reverse of which is the rule with most 
other species of birds where there is a difference in the plumage of 

SNIPE. 125 

the sexes. The painted snipe is rather uncommon, while its flight is 
slow, so that it cannot rank with the true snipe as a sporting bird. 

Of the three true snipe, the common snipe (Gallinago media) is by 
far the most numerous round Tientsin. It has a wide range, being 
found right across Asia and Europe, and is also the species so sought 
after by sportsmen in the British Isles. It is the smallest of the three 
species mentioned, is the richest in colouring, and has longer and more 
pronounced longitudinal buff markings upon the back. The under surface 
of the wing is of a very light grey, the feathers being lightly barred 
with dark grey. The most characteristic feature, and the one by which 
it can be distinguished unmistakably from the other two species is the 
tail. This is comparatively large, and contains fourteen feathers of 
almost equal size and uniform shape. These tail feathers are used in 
Europe to make trout flies. 

The pintail snipe are so called because of the peculiar attenuation 
of the outer tail feathers into almost pin-like shafts. 

Of the two species, Swinhoe's pintail (Gallinago megala) is the 
larger. In other respects it is more or Jess an intermediate form be- 
tween the common and lesser pintail snipe. Thus it is lighter in 
general colour than the common snipe, but slightly darker than the lesser 
pintail. Its tail is composed of twenty feathers, the outer six on! either 
side being very much smaller than the others, though not so pin- 
like as those of the lesser pintail. The upper surface of the wing is more 
spotted than in either o the other two species, and its head is also dar- 
ker in colour. The under surface of the wing is much more strongly 
marked than in the common snipe, the breast is more spotted, and 
the belly less white than in the other species. So far I have only been 
able to record two of this species this season, out of a total of about 
seventy birds examined (Sept. 15th, 1913). 

The remaining species, the lesser pintail snipe (Gallinago stenura) 
is slightly smaller than ; Swinhoe's snipe, but considerably larger than 
the common snipe. It is the lightest coloured of the three, and has 
the smallest tail. The latter makes up for its size in the number of 
feathers it contains, there being no less than twenty six, of which the 
outer eight on either side are very narrow and pinlike. The dark bands 
on the head are spotted with light brown, while the light markings 
on the back assume the form of transverse bars rather than longitudinal 
streaks as in the other two species. Only two of this species have 
fallen to my gun this season, though I found them very plentiful last 
May in Manchuria. They breed witEin the Arctic Circle, so that those 
I saw in May had a long way to go before the end of June, 

126 SNIPE. 

Neither of the pin-tail snipe are so active or fly so fast as the com- 
mon snipe, but they are usually much finer and fatter birds. 

Two other snipe occur, though rarely in North China. These 
are the jack snipe (Gallinago gallinula) and the solitary snipe (GalUnago 
solitaria). Of these the latter may be met, with in the mountainous 
areas, in some places throughout the year. It is much the largest of 
all the snipe, being sometimes mistaken for the woodcock. It most 
nearly resembles Swinboe's snipe, but is darker and browner above, 
besides being larger. 

With regard to the best snipe grounds, Tientsin sportsmen doubt- 
less know far more than the writer does about local conditions, but 
they may be interested in hearing of other good grounds further in- 
land. There are some good snipe districts accessible from the Pekin- 
Kalgan line, notably round Hsuan-hau Fu. In the extensive valleys 
formed by the large affluents of the Yellow Eiver, and other 
rivers flowing eastward in Shans'i, there are many excellent 
marshes or rice-growing areas, where good bags of snipe may be made ; 
while along the road from Tungkuan to Si-an Fu in Shensi stretch 
mile upon mile of the best snipe country imaginable. Frequently 
when travelling in Kansu, one may come across small marshes, where 
snipe are plentiful in the right season. 

Still I think, on the whole, that the residents of Tientsin have 
within easy reach of them as good snipe grounds as anywhere. Large 
bags have been made in the past, and doubtless will continue to be 
made, for snipe are not appreciably effected by the heavy inroads which 
are made into their numbers by sportsmen and hunters. So vast are 
their numbers, that but a mere skimming is taken as they pass to and 
from their breeding grounds. 

It would be interesting to know a few of the record bags made 
round Tientsin. No very large bags are made in the British Isles, 
but bags of over one hundred couple have been made in India and Cey- 
lon. It is said that 223 birds is the record bag for India. I believe this 
has frequently been beaten in China, but it is not likely that any 
bags made out here can compare with those made in Louisiana, where 
1,943 birds were shot by Mr. J. J. Pringle in seven days, his record 
for one day being 366. 

There is a story told of a famous New York snipe shooter, who took 
on a wager that he would shoot a hundred snipe with a hundred cart- 
ridges. He started out and shot very carefully. With each shot he 
brought down his bird till the figure of ninety eight was reached, when, 
through a defective cartridge, he lost one bird. He was not beaten, 

Plate XXV. 

SNIPE. 127 

however, but reserved his last cartridge till he got two snipe crossing 
each other, when he fired, and bagged them both, thus winning his 

So many people in Tientsin go snipe shooting that one hesitates 
to give any personal anecdotes, but an article on snipe seems incom- 
plete without a yarn or two. Will the old stagers excuse a description 
of a day with the snipe, for the sake of those who are so unfortunate as 
to be unable to indulge in what is one of the finest forms of sport 
going ? 

Early one fine September morning a little party of us, three in num- 
ber set off in rickshaws for the bridge which spans the canal behind the 
Japanese barracks. There was my old friend Sin, a new acquaintance 
and myself all eager for a good day's shooting. The crisp air blew 
gently from the north, and it was just chilly enough to make us 
thoroughly appreciate the first warm rays of the sun that pierced the 
low mists enshrouding the town behind us. 

Bowling along at a good rate we soon reached the bridge, where 
we engaged a sampan, and settling ourselves comfortably, allowed the 
boatman to pull us up the canal towards the race-course at his own 
rate. Three small boys had collared our belongings and sat proudly 
in the stern, smoking cigarettes and chattering about the different 
kinds of snipe, the best grounds to get them in, and the peculiarities 
of the many Lao Yehs that came to shoot them; while we, comfort- 
ably pulling at' our pipes, listened contentedly or called up remini- 
scences of former sih'ooting trips. 

Presently we reached a spot, near which I had already been hav- 
ing good sport with snipe, so we pulled- up to the bank and set off 
towards some paddy fields. We began well. Two snipe getting up 
were bagged by Sin and myself. These, however, were the last 
we put up in this area, where but three days before I had bagged a 
dozen in less than an hour, not including five which I shot, but could 
not find in the tall reeds. 

At the suggestion of one of the small boys we returned to our 
sampan, and continued up the canal. Presently turning more to the 
west we passed the old railway embankment and continued for 
another mile or so, finally pulling in to the bank once more near a 
village called Shi-liu-chien-fang-tzu (Sixteen Rooms). Half a mile over 
dried grass -covered ground brought us to some swamps and the fun 

Sin neatly dropped a bird with his automatic. Next a fat snipe 
got up in front of me. My second barrel knocked out a feather or 

128 SNIPE. 

two, but the bird flew some distance and alighted. That was the 
beginning of my troubles. Continuing, I put up the snipe again, but 
this time it flew slowly and I got rattled (as the Americans say) and 
foolishly determined to get the bird at all costs, with the result that I 
ran right into a whisp of six snipe, and made a double miss. Jusit as 
I slipped two more cartridges home up got my wounded bird, and to my 
chagrin, I missed again. That was the last I saw of it, but a minute 
or so later I bagged my second bird. 

Meanwhile my companions had been popping away merrily, and 
had four birds between them to show for it. Then for about an hour 
the snipe seemed to have disappeared, but at last in the course of 
a long trarnp through the mud, I ran across some paddy fields out of 
which the snipe popped one after another. I dropped two, and then 
began missing again. The birds seemed to be more exasperatingly 
active than usual. They either rose just out of range or right under my 
feet. .Some rose straight up into the air, and others skimmed low 
over the standing rice stalks, or zigzagged away to the right or left. 
Finding that I could do nothing with them I decided to head for the 
boat, and get a rest and some lunch. 

My companions had evidently come to the same decision for they 
joined me not far from the bank of the canal. A comparison of bags 
showed that Sin led with five snipe and four pratincoles (peculiar 
swallow-like birds related to the plovers, and very good eating). My 
bag contained four snipe and our friend's two snipe and a whimbrel. 
It was a pretty poor show considering the number of birds about. 

Crossing the canal and tying up under the shelter of some reeds, 
we did ample justice to the delicacies spread before us. 

After lunch we lay around and smoked for a couple of hours. 
Sin, who can never resist the chance of a swim, went into the canal, 
much to the delight of the small boys. The day was perfect. Even 
as we thus enjoyed our noontide rest, we were surrounded by a 
hundred forms of aquatic and aerial life. Over head the pratincoles 
coursed like enormous swallows, rising, sinking and circling in their 
abundant vitality. Ever and anon a flight, of grey plovers would pass, 
flapping lazily, with long plaintive calls. More rarely a whisp of snipe 
would come drumming down out of the invisible, and go skimming low 
over the reeds and rushes, alighting abruptly where it pleased them. 
A hoarse croak would announce the passage of a clumsy heron seeking 
some new feeding ground, or the sharp call of the coot and the peep of 
the baby grebes from the reeds, would tell us that there, too, was busy 
active life. In the canal widening circles on the water's surface would 
tell where some fish had risen, and watching, we might see carp and 

Plate XXVI. 

THE COOT (Fulica atra). 

THE COMMON SNIPE (Gallinago media). 


dace leap high into the air, their silvery quivering bodies scattering 
showers of crystal drops, ere the waters swallowed them again. All 
nature was alive and moving to the accompaniment of the hum from 
a myriad insect wings. 

As we lay and watched there came an ancient villager prodding 
his way along the bank of the canal, up to his waist in water. With 
a quick movement he drew from the water the writhing eel-like form 
of a gigantic catfish, securely hooked on the end of a long bar. Placing 
it in his basket, he turned his face towards the sound of our applauding 
voices and lo ! he was blind. We might have guessed it. None 
but the blind could have had sufficient delicacy of touch to 
find so unerringly the slight dent in the muddy bank, whicn 
alone marked the spot where the fish had buried itself. Next in- 
stant a shining dace glistened for a moment between his fingers ere it 
disappeared into the basket, to be followed shortly by a large crab. 
Apparently satisfied with his day's catch, the old man crossed the 
canal and was led away to the village by a tiny grandchild. 

At length rested and refreshed we returned to the snipe grounds, 
and for the next two hours had all the shooting we wanted. My shoot- 
ing had improved considerably, and I got several couple of snipe al- 
most at once, but after a while the continual tramping in the soft mud 
began to tell. In the last half hour I absolutely disgraced myself, 
and finally when a wounded bird escaped me after six cartridges had 
been expended on it, I gave up. My bag was now thirteen snipe and 
four whimbrels. Some of my shots had pleased me very much, not- 
ably one in which I brought down two snipe at once like the New 

My two companions also improved their shooting after lunch. 
Sin added several more snipe to his bag and a couple of whimbrels. 
Our friend was unlucky enough to run out of cartridges, when a con- 
siderable distance away from either of us, and so was forced to watch 
snipe after snipe get up and go without being able to attempt to stop 

Finally we all met again at the sampan, had some tea, and then 
started home. In spite of our bad shooting we had had a thoroughly 
enjoyable day. The weather had been perfect, there had been no 
lack of birds, and, after all, when the forty odd head were put together 
they made a handsome enough looking bag. The journey home in 
the cool of an ideal September evening, as we glided along the 
numerous waterways, past tall and stately reeds, with the soft glow 
of the sinking sun lighting up their feathery tops, was by no means 
the least enjoyable part of a typical day's outing after snipe. 
s 17 



IT is not an easy matter to define, for the general reader, what is* 
known amongst ornithologists as a perching bird, for to do so would 
mean entering into a general discussion upon the whole class Aves. 
The order Passeres includes all the songsters and most of the brilliantly 
hued birds so dear to the 'heart of the bird fancier. They commence 
with the crows, and, in this country at least, end with the martins and 
swallows. In fact this order is by far the greatest, containing, as it 
does, well over thirty families represented by innumerable sub-families, 
genera and species. Thrushes, finches, larks, starlings, Birds of Para- 
dise, wagtails, butcher birds, tits, wrens and even such peculiar birds as 
the South American bell-bird and the cock-of-the-rock belong to this 
great group. 

In China the order is well represented, nearly half the known 
species of birds belonging to it. 

There are some fourteen members of the crow family (Corvidae). 
The largest of these is the raven (Corvus corax), which is only common 
in the more desolate regions along the Mongolian Frontier. Here it 
lives largely upon the dead bodies of the Mongols, thrown out from the 
camps. On this account the Chinese name for it in these parts is 
"Mung-ku kuan tsai," (The Mongol's coffin). Next in size is the 
carrion crow (C. corone orientalis). This bird is very handsome, being 
of a shiny black, with neat plumage, and having a comparatively small 
bill. The Chinese jungle crow (0. 'levailanti), with its enormous thick 
bill might easily be mistaken for the raven, were it not for its small 
size, which is about that of the rook. It is common in Shansi, being 
particularly abundant in some places. A crow that is less common in 
the mountains, but which occurs fa:'rly plentifully on the plains is the 
white-necked crow (C. torquatus). As the name suggests this bird differs 
from all the foregoing in having a broad white collar. It also has a 
heavy bill, but ia not so large as the raven. 


The rook (Frugilegus pastinator) is extremely common. Leaving 
the rookeries in the interior during the winter, it journeys to the coastal 
regions, where in company with the jackdaw (Coloeus dauuricus) it 
congregates in great flocks, as Tientsin residents have good reason to 
know. The rook may easily be distinguished from the crows, by its 
naked face and narrow bill. 

The little jackdaw occurs everywhere in vast numbers. It is a 
pretty and familiar bird with its white neck and belly. Another species 
which is not so common in these parts is the black jackdaw 
(C. neglectus). This bird is of the same size as the other, but is with- 
out any white. 

In the interior, especially in some places, the chough (Graculus 
graculus), is very abundant. It is a graceful bird, about the size of a 
rook, with shiny black plumage, a long, curved, orange bill and orange 
legs. It lives mostly in mountainous and hilly regions, building its 
nest in holes in cliffs. In winter, as is the case with many members 
of the crow family, large flocks of these birds may be seen. They then 
associate, very frequently with the jackdaw. 

Everybody is familiar with the common magpie (Pica caudata). 
It is found everywhere, throughout North, and Central China. 

The azure-winged magpie (Cyanopolius cyanus) and the blue magpie 
(Urocissa sinensis) are two of the most beautiful birds found in North 
China. The former is the smaller and is characterized by a black head, 
pearl-grey breast, pale blue-grey back and delicate azure-blue wings and 
tail. It occurs all over North China. The blue magpie is somewhat 
similarly coloured, but has more blue about it. The black head is 
spotted with light blue, the spots merging into each other on the nape of 
the neck. The throat and breast, also, are black. The back is of a 
pale mauve-blue, the wings azure tipped with white-, the tail mauve- 
blue tipped with white and very long. The legs are of a bright 
orange-red. This bird occurs in Chihli, Honan, South Shansi, 
Central and South Shensi and South Kansu. It keeps to more 
or less wooded areas, though it may be seen in gardens even in the 
vicinity of large towns. 

The jay is represented in North China by two species, Garrulus 
sinensis in the more southerly portion, and G. brandti in the north. 
The latter also occurs in Manchuria. In general the plumage of these 
two birds resembles that of their European cousin, but the blue on the 
wing 1 is more extensive, and there is also a white patch) on each wing. 
In the case of G. sinensis the head and crest are plain, in the case of 


G. brandti slightly striated. In both species the rufous colour is more 
pronounced than in the European bird. 

The nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) is one of the most con- 
spicuous denizens of the forested regions of Shansi and Kansu. I have 
not seen it in any of the other provinces. About the size and shape 
of the jackdaw, it is of a brown colour, with white spots on the head 
and neck, black wings and black and white tail. Where it occurs at all 
it is very plentiful, being a lively active bird. It is a great nuisance to 
the hunter for it always discovers him, and gives warning to all the 
game in the vicinity by cackling vigorously. Like all the other mem- 
bers of the crow family it makes a most interesting pet, owing to its 
superior intelligence and undoubted reasoning powers. 

Next to the crows come several birds, each the single represent- 
ative of a different family. Of these the grey starling (Spodiopsar 
cineraceus) is undoubtedly the commonest. This bird should be well 
known to sportsmen in Tientsin, for it appears in large flocks during the 
snipe season, and by making a noise similar to that of a snipe, which it 
also somewhat resembles in flight and its way of getting up, often 
deceives the beginner. It is about the same size as the British star- 
ling, but has a grey plumage with conspicuous patches of white on the 
cheeks. The bill and legs are orange-yellow. It is a great nuisance to 
fruit growers. 

The Daurian starlet (Sturnina daurica) is a much smaller bird, 
wh.'ch also passes through in large flocks to breed in Mongolia and 
Southern Siberia. 

Another bird common in these parts, and also wherever there 
are trees and marshes together, is the drongo (Buchango air a). This 
is a bird with jet black plumage, a long tail, gracefully forked 
at the end, and of the size of a thrush. It is known in India as the 
kingcrow. Its food consists of butterflies and other insects, which it 
dexterously catches in mid air. It keeps to the willows and other trees 
that so frequently line marshes, canals and rivers in this country. 

The next species is the golden oriole (Qriolus indicus), a bird with 
the most striking plumage, and possessed of a wonderful voice. 
The colour of the adult is a rich golden yellow intensified by jet black 
on the wings and tail. A black band also occurs on the head, passing 
from the base of the beak, through the eye, to form a patch on the 
back of the head and nape. The legs are plumbeous, the beak pink, 
and the eye bright red. Immature birds are of a green colour above, 
striped on the under parts, 


The oriole is very shy, so that it is seldom seen. It hides in the 
dense foliage of the largest trees, whence it pours out its liquid, dulcet 
notes in a short, but indescribably sweet song. Unfortunately it 
does not thrive in captivity, for it would make a most handsome addition 
to the aviary. 

Our next family is the Fringillidae , the finches, whdch is a large one, 
including a great many sub-families. 

Not counting the sparrow, fohe commonest of these is the redpole 
two species of which occur. These are Linota linaria and L. canescens. ( 
They make good pets. 

Often found associating with the little flocks of redpoles are the 
rose-finches, two species of which are common in North China. These 
are Carpodacus roseus and C. erythrinus. These beautiful birds, have 
the- plumage on the body of a brown colour, washed with rose, which 
gets more and more intense with age. The feathers of the head are 
like the petals 1 of some small pink flower, hence the Chinese name 
"Mei-hua-tou" (Kose flower head). C. pulcherrimus is another! species 
of rose-finch, which is very rare. 

Three species of hawfinch are common in the northern provinces, 
two others occuring further south. The common hawfinch (Coccoth- 
raustes japonicus) closely resembles the British species. 

The other two, which belong to a different genus, are larger than 
the common species, with longer tails and even heavier bills. These 
are the large-billed hawfinch (Eophona magnirostra) and the black- 
headed hawfinch (E. migratoria). The Chinese value all these birds 
as trick-birds, and may frequently be seen in the streets with their 
pets tied to perches. Indeed the large-billed hawfinch shows a remark- 
able degree of intelligence. 

The greenfinch is represented in China by the Chinese 
greenfinch, or golden wing (Chloris sinica), which as its 
name suggests is remarkable chiefly for the large amount of bright 
golden yellow on the wings. It is a little greyish -green bird, the 
maturer specimens being washed with golden-brown on the breast and 
lower back. This bird has a pretty little song, and makes a good pet. 
Another nearly related species is the siskin (Chrysomitris spinus), a 
little green bird, which is less common in North China than the fore- 
going species. It may be distinguished by it's narrow bill and greener 

A common bird in the more mountainous regions is the brambling 
(Fringilla montifringilla) . This is a bright, perky little fellow, not 
unlike the chaffinch. It has a red-brown breast, with head and back 


of a deep Prussian blue, almost black. The tail is long, forked and of 
the same blue black colour. 

The crossbill found in North China is Loxia albiventris. It is a 
peculiar looking bird with its remarkable beak, the hooked ends of which 
cross each other and give it its name. It has short legs and tail. 
The plumage is of a greeny-brown; the males are suffused 
with crimson and the females with yellow. These birds live 
upon pine seeds, and may be seen hanging on to the cones, the scales 
of which they pick to pieces with their powerful beaks. They make 
interesting pets as they show a remarkable degree of intelligence. 

There are a large number of buntings found in North China, amongst 
which are the white-headed bunting (Emberiza leucocephala), the rustic 
bunting (E. rustica), the chestnut bunting (E. cioides), which inhabits 
the hills, the yellow-breasted bunting (E. aureola) a beautiful little bird 
with dark brown upper parts and a bright yellow breast, which is 
extremely plentiful in Mongolia and West Manchuria during the 
summer. Other species are the two reed buntings (E. passerina and 
E. yessoensis), the painted bunting (E. jucata), the little bunting 
(E. pusilla), the yellow-throated bunting (E. elegans) the yellow-browed 
bunting (E. chrysophrys), Tristram's bunting (E. tristrami), the grey- 
headed bunting (E. spodocephala), and the ruddy bunting (E. rutila), 
11 of which may be recognized by their small beaks, forked tails and 
somewhat lark-like appearance. Another member of the same family, 
but of a different genus is the Lapland bunting (Colcarius lapponicus), 
which is only a winter visitor. It is distinguishable by the prepon- 
derance of white in its plumage, and is also somewhat larger than the 
foregoing 1 species. 

We next come to the larks, of which the Mongolian lark 
(Melancorpha mongolica), is undoubtedly the ablest, if not the 
sweetest, songster found in this country. It inhabits the northern 
portion of the provinces along the Mongolian border, and is very num- 
erous in Mongolia itself. It is a large heavily built bird, with 
a black collar and conspicuous white patches on the wings. 
It is greatly prized by the Chinese. Almost every shop- 
keeper in a Chinese town owns one or more of these birds, which may 
be seen hanging outside the shop-front in characteristic dome-shaped 
cages. The vocal powers of this bird are remarkable, for beside being 
able to imitate any other songbird, it can mimic perfectly a cat or a 
kite, and to a certain extent a dog's bark. 

The skylark is represented in North China by at least two sub- 
species, namely, Alauda arvcnsis pekinensis and A. a. cinerea. It has 


never been my fortune to come across one of these fine vocal per- 
formers in the act of skying, as does the British bird, but/ I am told by 
one of my friends that they do sky. There is nothing, in the whole of 
the bird world that is more pleasing than a skylark pouring out its 
jubilant song as it mounts up and up into the blue vault of heaven. 
Certainly no phase of bird-life has inspired more poetry. 

The crested lark (Galerita leautungcnsis) is another very good 
songster. It occurs everywhere. As the name suggests it possesses 
a long crest, that makes it quite a pretty bird, inspite of its dull drab 

Two short-toed larks (Alaudula cheleensis and Calendrella brachij- 
dactyla) are common in Chihli, the former breeding in many places on 
the coast. Two shore -larks (Alauda alpestris and A. sibirica) also oc- 
cur in North Chihli, but are not common. 

Next to the larks come the wagtails, several species of which 
may be seen, especially during the migrations. The most beautiful 
of thtese is the yellow-headed wagtail (Motacilla citreola). It is of a 
grey colour with black and white wings and tail, and a brilliant yellow 
head and breast. It frequents marshes and river banks on its way 
to and from its breeding grounds in Siberia. , 

Another handsome species is the pied-wagtail (M. leucopsis). 
This bird has a white face, black breast, black and white wings and 
tail. It nests in mountain valleys, where it may be seen through- 
out the summer flitting about the rocks and pebbles in the stream 

A third species is the eastern race of the white wagtail (M. bai- 
kalensis), which is not unlike the pied wagtail, but has the top of the 
head black, the back and sides grey, with only a very little white on 
the wing. 

Other species are the streak-eyed wagtail (M. occularis), the yel- 
low wagtails (M. flava and M. borealis) and the grey wagtail (M. 

Nearly related to the wagtails are the pipits, the following species 
occuring in North China : Richard's pipit (Anthus richardi), Gustav's 
pipit (A. gustavi), Blakiston's pipit (A. blakistoni). the tree pipit (A. 
cervinus) and the Japanese pipit (A japonicus). These birds, Hke tlu- 
wagtails frequent watery places, living upon flies and spiders. They 
are all of sombre hues, greys and browns predominating in their plum- 

The wall-creeper (Trichodroma muraria), our next species, be- 
longs to a group, which is represented by but a comparatively few 


forms. It is a graceful little bird peculiarly adapted to hunting for ita 
food on the face of cliffs. Thus it has long curved claws, by means 
of which it can hold on to the merest little roughness on a rock surface. 
It also has a long curved beak, with which to pry into the cracks and 
crannies for spiders and other insects, upon which it feeds. It is of a 
pretty grey colour, with a crimson patch on each wing, and large 
white spots upon the primaries. The wings are very large and broad, 
giving the bird, when in flight, the motions of a butterfly. It has a 
short sweet song, the notes of which start low down in the scale, run 
rapidly up and end abruptly. It is very common in the mountains of 
Shansi and Shensi, but is extremely difficult to secure 

Between this bird and our next group, the tits, comes the nuthatch 
(Sitta sinensis). This little known bird keeps almost entirely to the 
wooded areas, where it searches for its food in the cracks and crannies 
of the pine trees. Like the wall creeper it can scramble up and down 
flat, slightly rough surfaces. It is very fond of hanging upside down 
from the pine-cones, amongst the scales of which it searches for seeds. 
It is a small grey bird, with pale chestnut breast. The tail is short ; 
the beak rather stout, being used to split hazel nuts. In doing this 
the bird first jams the nut into a crevice in the bark of a tree, and 
then hammers it till it splits. It is this habit whicb gives the bird 
its name. 

The tits are represented by several species, of which the prettiest 
is the long-tailed titmouse (Acredula caudata). Birds of this species 
go about in small flocks of a dozen or so, and are very pretty to watch, 
as they flit from branch! to branch, examining every leaf and twig in 
their interminable search for insects. 

The lesser tit (Parus minor) is not unlike the British tomtit, but is 
smaller in size. Two cole tits occur, one (P. pekinensis) in the vicinity 
of Peking and westward, the other (P. insularis) in North-eastern 
Chihli. The yellow breasted tit (P. venustulus) and the crested tit 
(Lophopanes bcavani) also are fairly common. They are all charming 
little birds excessively active and cheery in disposition. They seem 
to love to hang upside down from the branches, but this habit is only to 
enable them to examine the under surfaces of leaves more freely. They 
are easy to keep in captivity if given plenty of room and the proper 
kind of food. It is one of the prettiest sights imaginable to see a tit 
with a sunflower seed held firmly between its feet, hammering 
away with its strong little beak to split it. One I owned used to dive 
into corners after cobwebs, returning to his perch with a long mass 


in his claws, when he would busily search amongst the meshes for 
the insect. 

In China the penduline tit is represented by a species known as 
Remiza consobrina. This pretty little bird derives its name from its 
habit of hanging upside down. In the male the head is grey, the 
back and wings buff and chestnut, the breast cream, while there is a 
black band across the eyes. 

We next come to the butcher birds or shrikes, which are represent- 
ed in North China by six species. These birds derive their name from 
their habit of spitting their prey upon the long thorns on the bushes 
in the vicinity of their nest, and leaving them there till required, thus 
maintaining a larder. They have been known to steal the fledgelings 
from other birds' nest and treat them in this cruel way. Small rodents, 
also, sometimes fall a prey to these fierce little birds, but in the main 
their food consists of grasshoppers, beetles and other insects. The 
great grey shrike (Lanius sphenocercus) is undoubtedly the hand- 
somest of the three species. The head and back of this bird are of a 
fine grey; the breast white. There is a black band over each eye. 

THE BUTCHER BIRD (Laniiis superciliosus). 

The wings and tail are black, the feathers of tihte latter being tipped 
with white. It is very common on the plains and in wide valleys of 
North China, but is seldom seen in mountainous or hilly districts, 
s 18 


The other five species are all very much smaller birds, and are 
very hard to distinguish from each other, even when in the fully adult 
plumage. When in the barred plumage of the immature birds, the 
work of identifying specimens becomes practically impossible. 

The different species may be distinguished thus. Four of the five 
species are characterized by having red-brown tails. One of these 
(L. tigrinus) has a blue-grey head and neck, which at once distinguishes 
it from all the others. The upper parts are red-brown barred with black. 

The other three red-tailed shrikes are L. leucionensis with white 
forehead, grey head, greyish-brown upper parts, L. superciliosus with 
ohfestnut head, wings and back, white forehead and white eyebrows, 
and L. cristatus with the upper parts brown and no eyebrow. 

The remaining species is L. bucephalus, which has a gr-ey tail, 
chestnut head, and upper back, white eyebrow, a conspicuous white 
spot on the wing and the lower back grey. In all the species the breast 
and lower parts are buff. I fcave seen some of these birds nesting in 

The waxwing (Ampelis ganula) comes next to the shrikes. This 
is an elegant bird with unsually long; wings and a fine crest. It' is of a 
pretty fawn-grey colour, with a tendency to chestnut on the crest and 
mauve on the back. The eyes are surrounded with black ; there is a 
black patch on the throat, and the tips of the dark wing and tail feathers 
are of a brilliant yellow. The most peculiar characteristic, and the one 
from which the bird derives its name, is that the secondary wing fea- 
thers are all tipped with little red waxy appendages, that look almost 
artificial. In some specimens the tail feathers also have these appen- 
dages. Waxwings may be seen in large flocks, especially in winter. 
They feed upon berries, having a great predilection for those of the 
mistletoe. They are noisy birds, whistling and piping continuously 
as they search for their food. 

The Japanese waxwing (A. japonica) also occurs, but it is a very 
much, rarer bird. In this species the tips of the wing and tail feathers 
are crimson and not yellow. It is also somewhfat smaller than the 

In North China there are several members of the thrusE* family, 
the two commonest of which are Merula naumanni and M. ruficollis. 
The former is of a greyish brown colour above and dirty white below. 
The throat and breast are chestnut spotted with black, the tail chest- 
nut. The latter is slightly the larger, and has more chestnut on the 
breast, without the spots. 


Both of these birds occur in large flocks throughout the winter, 
going northward in the spring. Other species, which have been noticed 
in North China are the pale ouzel (M. pallida), the dusky ouzel (M. 
fuscata), the grey back ouzel (M. hortulorum), and the grey-headed 
ouzel (M . obscura). White's thrush (Oreocincla varia) and the Siberian 
ground-thrush (Geo&incla sibirica) also occur, but none of these are 

In the loess gullies and foothills of Shansi and elsewhere the 
blue rock-thrush (Monticola solitarius) occurs. This bird has a blue head, 
neck and back, dark grey wings and tail, with bright chestnut breast, 
and belly. 

A small rock-thmsh, (M. gularis) is also to be found in Chihli, 
though I have never come across it in Shansi and westward. It has a 
brilliant blue head and nape, chestnut breast, belly, rump and low< j ,r 
back and black upper back and wings. Neither of these birds are 

In the more arid parts of the northern provinces, and especially in 
the Ordos Desert, the wheatear (Saxicola isabellina) occurs in great 
numbers. It is a pretty bird with white breast and lower back, black 
wings and tail, 'having a black band like the shrikes through the eye. 
It nests in holes in the ground, often using still tenanted burrows of 
the ground squirrel. 

Another species (S. mono), has the top of the head and neck of a 
dirty white, the lower parts white, tinged with reddish on the breast 
and fuliginous brown on the flanks, the upper and lower tail coverts 
white and the wings, lower tail, and upper back black. S. oenanthe, a 
third species also occurs, but the last two are not at all common. 

The peculiar birds known as fork-tails come next in our list. Thft 
common North China species is Henicurus sinensis. Further south 
several other species occur. These birds keep to watery places, and 
may be found plentifully in the ravine bottoms in the Central Shensi 
loess country. Our species is a large bird with a long, widely-forked 
black tail. The rest of the body is pied. Thte -legs are long, and of a 
pink colour. 

Next to this genus comes the redstarts, two species of which are 
found. These are the common redstart (RuticiUa aurorca) and the 
black redstart (R. rufi.ventris.) The former has a pretty grey head and 
black body and wings, the latter having a conspicuous white patch on 
each, wlhiile the lower breast, rump and tail are of a bright chestnut - 
red colour. As it is continually bobbing its tail and flirting its wings, 
the name redstart is very suitable. 


The black redstart is entirely black except for the belly, rump and 
tail which are of a bright chestnut-red colour. This species occurs only 
in the more secluded valleys and ravines of the treeless hills and moun- 
tain ranges, while the other seems to prefer old temple buildings, where 
it; builds its nest in holes in the walls. In both species the females are 
grey-brown, with chestnut tails. 

The plumbeous water-redstart (Phyacornis fuliginosa) is also found, 
but is not at all common. Erythacus dkahige, the Japanese robin oc- 
curs along the coast of North China, but a bird that is often called 
the robin is the ruby-throated warbler (Erythacus calliope). This pretty 
bird is a great favourite with bird fanciers in this country, and with its 
dark olive-brown head, back, wings and tail, its bright crimson throat, 
its white belly and white markings above and below the 
eye it is certainly a very handsome cage bird. Its near 
relation the blue-throated warbler (E, caeruleculus) is another 
favourite. This bird is olive-brown above with a fine blue throat and 
breast, the blue patch being edged with a band of black and 
another of chestnut, while a chestnut patch occupies the centre. 
The upper part of the tail is also chestnut. Both these warblers 
are very sweet singers, and are favourite cage birds of the Chinese, 
being called respectively "Hung tien er" (Ked spot) and "Lan tien 
er" (Blue spot). 

There are five species of reed-warblers common to North China, 
of which the short-billed reed warbler (Arundinax aedon) is perhaps 
the most plentiful. This bird keeps to the osier beds and willow 
withies. Last summer I saw great numbers along the river sides in 
Manchuria, where they sang incessantly and with great vigour. They 
are very shy of being seen, however, and on the approach of anybody 
would immediately disappear into the rank foliage. 

The eastern great reed-warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) breeds in 
China and Manchuria, in great numbers. The three other 
species (A. bestrijiceps, A. tangorum and A. 'sorghophilus) are all 
small inconspicuous Thirds. Besides these, willow-warblers, grass-hopper- 
warblers and other small birds belonging to the Sylviidae pass through 
the country on migration in immense numbers. 

The next two species are what are known as accentors. One of 
these, Accentor erythropygius, inhabits the rocky cairns and summits 
of the highest back ranges. It is a little smaller than the thrush, and 
is very prettily marked, though of sombre hue. The other, Tharrhaleus 
montane Una, keeps to the valley bottoms, also in the higher ranges. 
This is the Chinese representative of the British hedge-sparrow. 


The dipper is represented in North China by Cinclus pallasi, an 
uniformly dark olive-brown bird, which is found in Shensi. It may 
be seen along the streams in the rocky bottoms of the deep loess 
ravines, where it builds its nest under the overhanging ledges. It 
can dive well, from which fact it gets its name of dipper. I have never 
come across it elsewhere than in Shensi. 

The wren (Anothura fumigata) is another bird found in the deep 
ravines. Its range is, however, much wider than that of the dipper, 
extending all over the mountainous districts of North and Central 

Included in the list o soft billed birds are the timelines, an in- 
teresting group of birds characterized by their short rounded wings and 
their large broad tails. They are related to the mocking bird, and are 
also known as babblers. 

The commonest of these is known as Pterorhirvus davidi. This is 
a lively bird of an uniform dark olive-brown, with a slight suggestion 
of a blue metallic sheen on the long wing feathers. It is one of the 
commonest birds of the mountainous regions,; and is gifted with no 
mean vocal powers. It may be seen in flocks of six or seven playing 
about in the underbrush, or scratching in the dried leaves' and grass for 
food. It is essentially a brush bird, keeping entirely to the undergrowth 
and low shrubs, and never perching on the tall trees. It builds its nest 
in the dense thorn scrub in ravine bottoms. 

A much smaller bird of the same type, and with similar habits is 
the Rhopophilus pekinensis. This bird frequents the same localities as 
the foregoing species. It is more prettily marked, however, having a 
white breast with chestnut streaks. It has a proportionately longer tail. 

Pomatorhinus gravivox is another timeline, which is not only a 
very handsome bird, but has an unusually sweet song. It is olive-brown 
on the back, with chestnut forehead, cheeks and belly. The throat and 
breast are white spotted with black. I have only come across it in 
Shensi, where it is rather rare. 

In Shensi, also occur two other /timelines. One of these, Trocha- 
lopteron ellioti, is about the same size as Pterorhmus davidi, and is of 
a similar general colour. The wings, however, are washed withi more 
intense metallic blue, and the tail with a brassy yellow sheen. The 
other, Dryonastcs pcrspicillatus, is the largest of the five, with' dull 
plumage. These last two species do not appear to occur north of 
the Wei valley, and may be said to belong more to the avi-fauna of 
Central China. 


The smallest member of this group is a little green bird, with white 
breast and reddish flanks, commonly called the white-eye (Zosterops 
erythropleura). It gets its name from the eye? being encircled with 
white. It is very common and may frequently be seen in the garden 
during the summer. 

Next to these birds come the fly catchers, represented by several 
species in North China. Being denizens of the more densely wooded 
and brush covered areas, they are not often seen. 

Most remarkable of these is the paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone 
incii). In this beautiful bird the adult male has the central tail feathers 
enormously lengthened during! the breeding season. The younger 
males and the females are of a chestnut, red colour all over, except 
the head and neck, which are of a fine metallic blue, almost black. 
The most peculiar thing is that the old males are of the same chestnut- 
red colour except during; the breeding season, when they are white. 
Thus during the breeding season thiere are three plumages, namely, 
the chestnut and blue-black females, with short tails, the chestnut 
and blue-back young males with very long tails, and the pure white 
aoad blue-black old males with very long tails. This is not a common 
bird, but it has been recorded from the vicinity of Peking and also at 

Another most beautiful bird is the tricolor flycatcher (Xanthopygia 
tricolor). This bird has a black head, upper back, wings and tail, white 
eyebrows, secondaries and upper wing coverts white, and bright yel- 
low under parts, lower back and rump. The female is plain olive green 
above, dirty white below with yellowish rump. 

The blue and white flycatcher (Cyanoptila bella) is also a strik- 
ingly beautiful bird, with its bright, smalt-blue upper parts, black throat 
and breast and white belly. The female is brown. The robin fly- 
catcher (Poliomyias luteola) has black or iron-grey upper parts, orange- 
red throat with a white patch on the wing, another behind the eye and 
the base of the tail white. The female is olive brown above, white below. 

The broad billed flycatcher (Alsonax latiro stria) is a small grey- 
brown bird, with white under parts, marked with grey on the breast ; 
while the Siberian flycatcher (Hemichelidon sibirica) is much darker 
with heavily marked breast. Lastly the white-tailed robin-flycatcher 
(Siphia albicilla) is characterized by a red throat in the male, the 
rest of the bird being grey. 

This list of flycatchers shows that some of the most beautiful 
of our birds belong to the family. 


Finally we come to the swallows and martins represented by some 
six species, three of each. The common swallow of these parts is the 
eastern house swallow (Hirundo gutturalis), which is allowed to build 
in the ceilings and eaves of native houses. Both the Chinese and 
Mongols consider it extremely lucky to have swallows build in their dwel- 
lings, and in many places every house and tent has its pair of swallows, 
which 1 build in the rafters year by year. The other two swallows ire 
the. Nipal striped swallow (H. nipalensis), which has a striped breast, 
and lytler's swallow. (H. tytleri), which keeps more to the wild parts. 

The house martin (Chilidon lagopoda), as its name suggests, builds 
its nest in human domiciles, while the cliff martin (Ptyonopracne rupes- 
tris) keeps to the rocky ravines of the mountainous districts, where 
it makes its nest under thfe overhanging rocks and in caves. It is 
about the same size as the swallow, but has a much shorter tail, and 
is of a dark brown above and white below. 

The sand martin (Cotile riparia) nests in long tunnels, which it 
excavates in sandy banks and cliffs. It is considerably smaller than 
the crag martin, though of about the same shape and colour. When 
travelling in Inner Mongolia, I frequently came across regular warrens-, 
excavated by these little birds in low banks, or even in thie sides 
of disused wells. In places immense flocks of these birds were also 
seen, evidently gathered together preparatory to the migration south- 



FEW even amongst those who make the gun and rod their hobby, 
and spend many a pleasant week-end along the river's bank or in a 
house boat on the fens, realize what a great variety of wading birds 
there is. This is doubtless due to the fact that the man with the gun, 
if he be a true sportsman, seldom fires at anything he does not know 
to be good for the pot, so that he comes to know a few species well and 
is often ignorant of all the rest. On the other hand the man with the 
rod is usually too absorbed in his float or flytackle to heed the numerous 
other attractions of his holiday resort. The man who derives the 
greatest pleasure and profit from nature's marvellous store is he, who. 
setting out with sight and hearing alert, is prepared to sacrifice a good 
bag in order to follow up and learn what he can about some unfamiliar 
bird that has crossed his path. And what a world of wonder w.ll open 
out before; h^n ! He will be at a loss to name the numerous species 
he encounters. He will see strange sights which he will be unable to 
account for. Turning up his books he will be confused by close 
scientific descriptions and terms, or if they be popular ones, they 
will be sure to omit just the bird he is looking for. To such 
an one the following notes may be useful. I cannot pretend that my 
list will be either complete or infallible, but it may serve in assisting the 
local sportsman, who is interested in something other than merely how 
many couple he can bag, to identify and correctly name the many 
interesting birds he sees. 

The largest wading bird common to North China is the black stork 
(Cieonia nigra). This handsome species frequents the clear streams 
and rivers in the vicinity of high and precipitous cliffs, in the crags 
of which it builds its nest and rears its young. It may only be seen in 
such coastal regions as Tientsin during the spring and autumn migra- 
tions. It is considerably larger than the Keron, and has the head, neck, 
back, wings and tail of a jet black, the feathers of the head and neck 
being shot with iridescent hues. The breast and belly are white. The 
beak, face, eyes and legs are ol a fine vermilion colour. The plumage 

Plate XXVII. 

THE IKIS-EILLKD CURLEW (Ibidorhynchus struthersi). 

THE CURLEW (Numcnius arquat-uz). 


of the female is more brown, and is without the iridescence. The food 
of this bird is small fish. 

Next in size comes the heron (Ardea cinerea) familiar to everybody 
who goes in for wild fowling. It is a beautiful bird with its delicate grey 
feathers, white throat and neck, speckled with black and its graceful 
black crest. In flight it may be distinguished from the foregoing species 
by the way in which it holds its head back over its shoulders. The stork 
keeps its neck stretched out at full length in front, as also do the cranes. 

Several other species of heron occur in North China. The rarest of 
these is the egret (Ardea garzetta), a perfectly white bird, carrying on 
its back those rare plumes commonly known as "ospreys." In size 
this species is very much less than the common heron, but the two are 
very similar in shape. As stated in a previous paper, this elegant little 
wader is fast becoming extinct, owing to the high price set upon its 
plumes. The worst thing about the collecting of these plumes is that 
they are most valuable when the young are being fledged, and parent 
birds are nearly always shot just at this time, so that the young are 
left to starve. I have seen but two of these birds in a wild* state from 
the time, many years ago, when I first began to distinguish one species 
from another. 

A very beautiful bird is the purple heron (Ardea manillensis), whicn 
may sometimes be seen in this region. The plumage of this bird is a 
wonderful combination of greys, purples, buffs and browns. It is 
somewhat smaller than the common heron. Common in the marshes 
of North China is a very small bird belonging to this family named 
lArdetta sinensis. It is like a small bittern in appearance, being 
of a buff colour streaked with black. One often puts it up when 
out snipe shooting. It occurs all over North China. Another rarer 
species, (4. eurythma) also occurs. This bird has the crown, nape and 
back of a dark brown, the throat, cheeks, chest, belly and legs of a 
buff, with grey-buff wing coverts. I found this bird rather common in 
Manchuria. The well known bittern (Botaurus stellaris) is the next 
member of the great order Herodiones, to which the foregoing species 
belong. This is essentially a bird of the marshes, where owing to its 
colouring and markings, it may stand amongst the reed stems and 
completely escape detection. 

Another member of this order is the night heron (Nycticorax 
griseus). This bird is about the same size as the bittern, and is remark- 
able for its conspicuous plumage. The top of the head is black with 
two long white plumes passing backward over the neck and shoulders. 
The face, side of the head, neck, breast and belly are white, the back 
is black and the wings a dark blue-grey. The beak is green and black, 

s 19 


the legs yellow and the eye red. This bird prefers wooded districts, 
building its nest in low trees. It does its fishing by night, sleeping 
during the day, hence the name night heron. 

Another group belonging to this order are the ibises, which are 
represented in North China by a very beautiful bird, the Japanese ibis 
(Nipponia nippon). This bird has fine white plumage, tinged with a 
brilliant orange-pink, especially on the under surface of the wings. 
With its long curved beak, pronounced crest and naked forehead, face 
and throat, it is a very peculiar looking bird. It makes a great noise, 
uttering a harsh croak, even louder than that of the raven. It builds its 
nest in trees, and feeds chiefly upon large water snails. It is very 
common along the Wei Valley in Shensi, and I have seen it as far north 
as Tai-yuan Fu in Shansi, while I am told, that it breeds on the banks 
of the Liao River in Manchuria. 

The last member of this order is the spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), 
so called on account of its peculiarly shaped bill, which flattens out at 
the end like a spoon. In colour this bird is pure white and like many 
others of the order has a pronounced crest. In size it about equals the 
common heron. I have seen large flocks of these birds during the 
migrating season, and noticed that they assume the V shape formation, 
so characteristic of aquatic birds in general. They are very shy and 
keep to the most uninhabited regions, such as the very heart of wild 
and impassable marshes. 

The next order of wading birds is Fulicariae which includes the 
rails, moorhens and coots. Of these the moorhens and coots cannot, 
strictly speaking, be called waders, for they are expert swimmers and 
spend most of their time on the surface of deep water. Even the 
water rail swims every whit as much as it wades, so that we might 
pass over the whole group, which in any case is well enough known. 

There are two species of crane common in North China, namely, 
the common crane (Grus lilfordi) and the demoiselle crane (Anthropoides 
virgo), both of which birds occur in huge flocks. The common crane 
is much the larger, being of a dark grey colour with' handsome tail 
and wing plumes. It has a naked red crown and a white band ex- 
tending down either side of the neck from the eye. The demoiselle 
crane is also of a pretty grey colour on the body with much darker 
head, neck and breast. It has two white tufts growing backwards from 
behind the eye. The tail feathers are long and painted. Both of these 
species may be seen in great numbers upon the Mongolian Plateau. 

We next have to consider the great order Limicolee, which includes 
the plovers, the sand pipers, the snipe, the curlews and all the rest of 
the smaller wading birds. 


There are ten plovers common to North China, namely, the grey- 
headed plover (Microsarcops cinereus), the crested plover or lapwing 
(Vanellus vanellus), the golden plover (Charadrius fulvus), the little 
ringed plover (Aegialitis minor) the larger ringed plover (Aeg. placidus) 
the sand plover (Aeg. cantianus), the larger sand plover (Aeg. geoffroyi), 
the Mongolian plover (Aeg. mongolicus), the dotterel (Charadrius 
veredus) and the pratincole (Glareola orientalis). These are all well 
known to the sportsman, for he will continually meet them. The 
grey-headed plover is the largest. It is of a grey colour above, white 
below, with black and white wings and tail, and a conspicuous black 
band across the breast. The beak is yellow at the base, black at the 
tip, and there are yellow fleshy appendages on either side of the face. 
In flight it resembles the lapwing, to which bird it also bears consider- 
able resemblance in its habits. 

The lapwing is a particularly well known bird. Its black plumage 
has a fine metallic sheen changing from a rich green to coppery red in 
the sunlight. The lower breast and belly are white, the under tail- 
coverts of a rich chestnut-fawn colour. Its name is derived from its 
habits of pretending to be wounded, and flapping along with an 
apparently broken wing in order to draw the intruder away from its nest. 

The golden plover is a graceful bird, about the size of a snipe, 
wit b fine golden-green plumage thickly speckled with black. I have 
yet to see the sportsman who will let a golden plover pass if he could 
bag it, for its flesh is excellent, ranking, some people think, even 
higher than that of the snipe itself. 

The members of the genus Aegialitis may be distinguished from 
one another thus : 

Lesser sand plover : Chestnut on back of head ; incomplete neck 

Greater sand plover: Chestnut head, neck, and breast. No neck 

Lesser ringed plover: complete neck ring, grey-black and white 
back and wings ; no chestnut colour ; with a white ring round 
the neck. 

Greater ringed plover: the same as the lesser ringed plover, but 
larger in size. 

Mongolian plover: like the greater sand plover, but with black 
gorget or neck ring, and of a smaller size. 

The dotterel (Charadrius veredus} is also classed with the plovers 
and is certainly very like them. It may be recognised by its whitish buff 
head, chestnut breast and upper flanks, bordered below by black, 
grey-brown back and long legs. It is, however, very rarely seen. It 



is believed that the dotterels fly from their winter resort in the south 
to their breeding grounds in Arctic regions in one continuous flight, 
without either rest or food. 

Closely allied to the plovers are the pratincoles, remarkable for 
their swift swallow-like flight. One species (Glareola orientalis) is 
very common in North China, especially round Tientsin, where it may 
be seen in swarms flying over the reeds, chasing and catching the 
grasshoppers and other insects. In appearance this bird is not unlike 
the dotterel, though it has a short thick beak, wide mouth, very long 
wings and a swallow tail. In colour it is of 1 a dark grey-brown on the 
head, nape, back, wings and breast, shading off into white on the belly 
and rump. The throat is fawn, bounded by a black line as in the 
chukar, or red-legged partridge. The lower back and under wing 
surface are chestnut. These graceful birds offer very sporting shots, but 
the flesh, though without that coarse flavour, so often noticeable in 
water birds, is slightly bitter. 

THE AVOCET (Recurvirostra avocetia). 

Next to the plovers come the avocets, represented in North China 
by the common avocet (Recurvirostra avoceita). This is a most grace- 
ful bird with pied plumage, long slender black legs, webbed feet and 
a long thin beak with a strong upward curve. In size it, about equals 
the lapwing, though it is of a very much more slender build. 


A very handsome wading bird that is to be found in North China, 
though it keeps to the coastal regions, is the Japanese oyster catcher, 
(Hoematopus osculans). This bird is somewhat larger than a pigeon, 
and is conspicuously, coloured, having the head, neck and back of a 
jet black, wings and tail black and white, and breast and belly pure 
white. The legs are of a dull red, the long beak orange. It derives 
its name from the fact that it feeds upon bi- valve molluscs, which it 
prises open with its bill. 

In the rock-strewn valleys of the mountainous regions of the 
interior, another closely allied form exists^ namely, the ibis-billed 
oyster catcher (Ibidorhynchus siruthcrsi). This interesting bird forms 
a connecting link between the oyster-catchers and our next genus, the 
curlews. In colour, it is of a delicate mauve-grey above, with 
white breast and belly. It has a black face, with a long crimson bill, 
shaped like that of the ibis; hence its name. 

The legs are of a pretty mauve colour, and there is a broad black 
band across the chest. These birds, in their native haunts, so exactly 
resemble the grey stones and boulders, that it is almost impossible to 
detect them. When they fly, they utter a plaintive call like that of 
the lapwing. They are never seen in marshy country, and are only 
partially migratory. 

Every one is familiar with the curlew (Numenius arguatus) and 
the whimbrel (N. variegatus). These birds are very much alike in 
plumage and appearance, the whimbrel being but a small curlew. 
They are very good eating and offer good sporting shots, so that few 
sportsmen refuse to take them when the chance offers. 

The grey phalarope (Phalaropus fulcarius) is another bird that may 
be seen in the marshes, though only during the migrations. It may 
be recognized by its> lobed feet, not unlike those of the coot. It is 
about the size of the golden plover, and is remarkable for the seasonal 
change in its plumage. In winter it is grey above, white beneath ; in 
summer, dark grey-brown above and chestnut beneath. When in 
summer plumage it may easily be confused with the dotterel, which it 
very much resembles in shape and in flight. It has a short beak like 
the plovers. 

I have never come across the ruff (Totanus pugnax), though we 
certainly have the two red-shanks (T. calidris and T. fuscus) and the 
common, sand-piper (T. hypoleucos), all members of thie same genus, 
besides a great many others. The red-shank is somewhat larger than 
the snipe, and may easily be recognized by its long, conspicuously orange 
legs, its fine white breast, and speckled brown upper parts. 


The common sand-piper is the little bird known out here as the 
snippet. The latter is a purely sporting term used loosely for many 
small snipe-like birds. Another bird that often receives this name is 
the red-necked stint (Tringa ruficollis), a small snipe-like bird that 
often deceives the beginner as to its identity. This is the little fellow 
that goes about in small flocks of ten or a dozen, and settles on the flat 
muddy stretches where there is no cover. 

Another member of the same genus is the dunlin (T. americana), 
which, however, has a longer beak, is darker in colour, and slightly 
larger. It keeps more to the sea-shore, and is seldom met. with 

The black-tailed godwit (Limosa melanura) is another of the wadera, 
which passes through during the migratory season. This is a bird 
about the size of the whimbrel, but having a long straight beak. It 
is of fawin-grey and brown colour with black flight feathers, white 
axillaries and a black tail, the base of which is white. The legs are 
long and the central toe has the nail curved upward and serrated. The 
feathers of the head and neck are tinged with chestnut. A second smaller 
species occurs, which is barred on the breast and back, and has very 
much more chestnut on the head and neck. 

The descriptions of all these birds refer only to the adult male. 
As it frequently happens that the females and young have differently 
coloured plumage, the sportsman will often secure birds that do not 
answer to any of these. He must then arrive at an identification by 
a process of elimination, though without reference to colour. He will 
have to go more by shape, length of leg and beak, and so on. 

Lastly we have the woodcock and snipe. 1 have already dealt 
with the latter in a separate paper. 

My experiences with the woodcock, (Scolapax rusticffla) has not 
been great, in fact I have run across it in only two places, namely, in 
the wooded area west of Tai-yuan Fu in Shansi, and in the mountains 
west of Kwei-hua-chi'eng further north in the same province. In both 
of these districts it is fairly plentiful in spring and autumn, but rather 
shy and difficult to shoot. 

It is occasionally shot round Tientsin by local sportsmen, and I 
have seen it for sale in the French market. 



THE birds of this great order differ from the perching birds mainly 
in the structure of their feet. The majority of the species have the 
toes arranged two pointing forward and two directed backward. In 
those that have three in front and one behind the feet are usually small 
and weak, and the metatarsal bones short. The order includes the 
wood-peckers, cuckoos, humming birds, swifts, kingfishers, rollers and 
others,, and is well represented in the Chinese avi-fauna. They form 
a most interesting group so that it would be well to consider them in 
some detail. 

Much the largest of all the woodpeckers in this country is the 
great black woodpecker (Picus martins). This is a very rare species, 
occuring only in the wilds of the wooded mountain areas. It is about 
18 inches in length, with jet black plumage, except for a very con- 
spicuous crimson crown. It is remarkable how many of the Picidae 
have these brilliant crimson patches on their heads, which, 
however, is usually absent in the females. The beak of 
the great black woodpecker is very powerful, and is flattened 
vertically at the tip to form a most effective implement in the 
drilling of holes in tree trunks. Mostly this drilling and chipping is 
carried out in the surface of soft and decaying wood in the search for 
insects, upon which the bird feeds ; but when the nesting season comes 
on, the parent birds excavate deep holes, sometimes many feet in 
length. I have known of such holes being made in the green wood of 
living trees. The energy of woodpeckers is exuberant, and there are 
few birds more interesting to watch. 

Next in size comes the grey-headed woodpecker (Gecinus canus). 
This is a very common bird 1 , occuring in every locality. It seems to be 
non-migratory for it may be seen at all times of the year. Considering 


the fact that woodpeckers are insectivorous birds, it might be wondered 
where they get their food from during our cold North China winters. 
That they do get insect food is known from the fact that stomachs of 
these birds, examined in winter have been found full of ants. 
I once made a rough 1 estimate of the number of ants a 
woodpecker disposes of in a year, and got a result of nearly three 
hundred thousand (300,000). This does not include the numerous other 
insects that go to make up its bill-of-fare. Another thing that doubtless 
helps these birds through the winter is that at a pinch they can subsist 
on the kernels of wild apricots and peaches. 

The process usually used in catching insects is to drum upon 
some infested trunk with the beak. In the case of ants, this is effective 
in causing the irate and warlike little insects to swarm out of their holes 
to attack the invader, when they are promptly licked up by the long 
barbed and sticky tongue. Other insects are literally dragged out of 
their borings by the same deadly weapon. 

In colour the grey-headed woodpecker is green on the body and 
wings, grey on the neck and head, with a fine crimson crown and a 
dark band on either cheek, running from the base of the beak to behind 
the lower jaw. 

Another closely related species is the Yang-tze green woodpecker 
(G. guerini), which differs from G. canus in having more black on the 
nape and head and in being greener throughout. 

The Chinese pied woodpecker (Dendrocopus cabanisi) is another 
common woodpecker. It is closely allied to the common spotted 
woodpecker (D. major), but has black instead of white scapulars. The 
latter bird also occurs. It is black and white on the head, back, wings 
and tail. The breast is light bro^n or dirty white. The back of the 
head is crimson, the belly and rump bright rose. 

The rufus bellied pied-woodpecker (Hypopicus poliopsis) resembles 
the foregoing species, but has a red-brown breast. 

As far as I know the smallest woodpecker in these parts is the 
spark-headed woodpecker. Its scientific name lyngipicus scintilliccps, 
seems to suggest some connection with the wryneck (lynx). This pretty 
little woodpecker is pied above, brown on the breast with black streaks, 
and has two crimson spots on the back of the head. It is somewhat 
smaller than a sparrow. 

The next Picarian bird is the wryneck (lynx torquilla), sometimes 
known as the cuckoo's mate. This little bird appears in spring just 
before the cuckoo, to which it is closely related. It is of a brown colour 


covered with mottlings, bars and striations, of a darker shade. Like 
the woodpeckers it builds its nest in holes in trees, but it does not 
excavate these itself. It has a delicate narrow bill eminently unsuited 
to such an undertaking. 

Closely following the wryneck comes the cuckoo, not only in ita 
north bound migration, but also in the position to which ornithologists 
have assigned it in their arrangements and classification of birds. The 
cuckoo is too familiar a bird to need any description. There seem to be 
two distinct species recognisable by their calls. One is the common 
cuckoo (Curulus canorus), which gives the call so familiar to all of us. 
The other, the Asiatic cuckoo (C. intermedias) keeps to the wooded 
areas and utters a call which can only be rendered by the syllable 
whoom whoom whoom oft repeated in a low keyi with an indescribable 
resonance. I found both species very common in the Manchurian forests, 
but they were unapproachable. Indeed, excepting on one occasion, 
I have never succeeded in securing any but immature specimens. 

It is well known how small birds will mob a cuckoo when they find 
one in the open. It has been found that the male cuckoo deliberately 
seeks this mobbing so as 1 to draw the small birds away from their nest, 
thus giving the female a chance of deposit'dntg her egg in the nest of a 
suitable host. 

Skipping a number of Picarian families, which do not seem to be 
represented in North China, we come to the swifts and nightjars. A 
great many people seem to think these are classed with the swallows 
and martins. This popular error is not to be wondered at, for a swift 
certainly bears a remarkable resemblance to a martin. One look at 
the feet, however, and all doubt is dispelled. Small, sharply clawed, 
feathered to the toes and of awkward shape the foot of a swift, and to 
an even greater extent, that of the nightjar, is certainly not that of a 
perching bird. As a matter of fact the swift family is called Micro- 
podidae, which means "small feet." The three members of this family 
in North China are the white-rumped swift (Cypselus pacificus), the 
North China swift (C. pekinensis) and the spinetailed swift (Acanthyllis 
caudata). The North China swift is a well known bird, being a regular 
summer visitor. It rears its young in 'holes in the eaves of temples, 
gate towers and other grand old-buildings. In the evenings, when it is 
most busy, its shrill whistling fills the air, and is a most pleasant sound. 
Like the swallows the young can fly as soon as they are fledged, though 
occasionally a young bird, which has left the nest too soon, may be 
picked up from the ground. Swifts find great difficulty in risixig from 

s 20 



the ground, doubtless due to the feebleness of their legs and feet, 
which prevents them from giving the initial spring into the air. 

The white rumped swift according to David breeds in the hills 
west of Peking. 

The spine-tailed swift is a very large handsome bird, of a dark 
brown colour with a whitish back. 

The nightjar (Caprimulgus jotaca) is an interesting bird, found only 
in the moutainous areas. I have come across it in Shansi and Man- 
churia only, though doubtless it occurs in the other provinces. It 
makes a peculiar noise like the knocking together of two pieces of 
wood. Perhaps this is what gives it the name of nightjar. Another 
name is nighthawk and a third very common one is goatsucker. The 
last has come from the fact that the bird has frequently been seen to 
hang around the udders of goats so that it has become a 
popular belief that it sucks the milk. As a matter of fact it is flies that 
the bird is after. Of a beautiful brown grey colour, closely pencilled 
and barred, the nightjar is a handsome bird. Like the swift it has an 
enormous mouth and long graceful wings. It lays two eggs on the 
bare ground in the underbrush, where it rears its young. In tropical 
countries there are some very beautiful members of this family. 

THE HOOPOE (Upupa epops). 

A bird that never fails to call forth admiration is the hoopoe (Upupa 
epops). In Shansi and westward this is not a rare bird, though I 


believe it is less common in these parts. It derives its name from its 
peculiar call, which may be rendered hoo poo poo. The Chinese name 
"pu pu tze" is also descriptive of the call. The colour and markings 
of the hoopoe are very handsome, but its glory lies in the wonderful 
crown of golden feathers that adorns its head. It nests in holes in 
cliffs, feeding upon grubs and insects, which it catches with its long 
bill. With this it prods the soft mould as do the snipes and woodcocks. 

Not distantly related to the hoopoe are the kingfishers, a small 
variety of which, Aloedo bengalensis, is familiar at least to all sporting 
men out here. This is closely allied to the species found all over Europe 
and temperate and even tropical Asia. It is a beautiful little bird with 
its bright blue head, back, wings and tail, and its chestnut breast. It 
may often be seen skimming along the banks of streams and canals 
with its bright colours flashing like living gems in the sunlight. The 
Chinese use the feathers of this bird in the manufacture of trinkets and 
hair ornaments, the brilliant blue being an excellent substitute for 
enamel. I am told that the natives who hunt for these feathers, catch- 
the birds alive and after they have taken such of the plumes as they 
require, restore them their freedom. 

The only other kingfisher that I know of inhabiting North China 
is a very handsome species known as Halcyon pileatus. This bird has 
a black head, dark purple and blue back and wings, a black tail, white 
throat, chestnut breast and belly and bright red legs and bill. It 
frequents rivers and marshes, and may even be seen along mountain 
streams. It is about the size of a thrush. 

One should not leave the Picarian birds without mentioning one 
other species,, the Chinese broad-hilled roller (Eurystonws colony se). 
Whether this bird inhabits North China or not, 1 have not yet ascer- 
tained, but I found it very common, though hard to secure, in Man- 
churia. It is certainly one of the handsomest, if not the handsomest 
bird of these latitudes. Its plumage is a wonderful combination of 
blues, ranging from an emerald-blue on the back to the most ultra of 
ultramarine on the tail and what milliners call electric blue on the 
wings. The head is black and the throat pale mauve-blue. In sharp 
contrast to these gem-like colours are the bright orange red beak, crim- 
son legs and almost ruby coloured eye. The beak is large, powerful and 
hooked at the tip. The wings are long ; the tail square. The bird keeps to 
the tops of the highest trees, feeding upon the large insects, which it 
dexterously catches in mid air. It makes a great noise resembling that 
of the jay and other members of the crow family. 



Passing over the parrots, the birds of prey, the herons and the 
ducks, we come to the dove family, which includes the pigeons, doves 
and, according to Ogilvie Grant, the sandgrouse. The last forms a 
connecting link, through the pigeons, between the waterfowl (ducks, etc.) 
on the cne hand and the game birds (true grouse, pheasants, etc.) on 
the other. 

Columbae is not a very large order, though its members, 
judging from the vast numbers in which they occur, seem 
to be eminently successful in the struggle for existence. One 
of the commonest members of the family is the rockdove 
(Columba rupestris). Birds of this species make their homes, as the 
names suggest, in rocky ravines and loess gullies, wherever they may 
find a shelf broad enough to deposit their eggs. In winter they fore- 
gather in great flocks, sometimes numbering many thousands, and scour 
the country side for food. At such times they offer excellent sport, 
and one may either take them singly as they pass and repass overhead, 
or else pot them as they feed. Of course this latter method does not 
appeal to the finer sporting instincts, and is only excusable on the plea 
that the birds are needed for food, and that cartridges are too hard to 
secure in the interior to waste upon difficult and doubtful shots. The rock 
dove is to all intents and purposes just a common blue pigeon. It differs 
from its European cousin in having a broad white band across the tail. 

The turtle dove (Turtur orientalis) is another member of the same 
family, which is rather plentiful in the northern provinces. It keeps 
to the well wooded areas, where it nests in low trees, building little 
more than a loose platform of twigs and pine needles. Two eggs are 
usually deposited at a time, which is the case with all the pigeon family. 
During the mating season the males may frequently be seen to fly 
upwards from the woods attaining an altitude of a hundred feet or 
more above the tree tops, then spreading their wings they sail gracefully 
down again, and are lost to view in the dense foliage. There are few 
sounds more romantic than the mating coo coo of the turtle dove, and 
none more reminiscent of the pine woods. 

Another dove (T. risorius) occurs more on the plains, where it 
frequents groves and orchards. This species is lighter than the turtle 
dove, and has none of the markings on the back. It has a plain blacJt 
band or collar on the neck, which in the turtle dove is speckled with 
lavender. Both these birds, but more especially the latter offer good 
sport, when nothing else is to be had. 


From a sporting point of view the first of these miscellaneous 
species should have been the pin-tailed sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes para- 
doxus). Properly speaking this is not a Chinese bird, but is only en 
occasional visitor. Its true home is Mongolia, Siberia and the Steppes 
of Central Asia, whence it invades South-eastern Europe, North China 
and other neighbouring countries. About the size of a pigeon, which it 
somewhat resembles in build and shape, it is a handsome bird of a 
sandy colour with pretty markings. The female is barred; the male 
spotted, the latter also having a reddish orange face; while in both 
sexes there is a broad black band across the chest. The feet are very 
short, thick and padded on the soles. They are also thickly feathered 
so that they resemble in appearance those of a rabbit. The wings are 
long, the first flight feathers tapering away to a fine point. This is also 
the case with the tail feathers, from which fact the bird derives the first 
part of its name, the second part, as might be supposed, referring to 
its partiality for sandy places. 

THE PINTAILED SANDGROUSE (Syrrhaptes paradoxus). 

Sandgrouse are sporting birds, well beloved of local shooting 
men. They go about in large flocks, fly very fast and require a deal of 
killing, They are given to flighting and in seasons when they are plenti- 
ful excellent sport may be enjoyed with them. Sometimes they keep 
very high and out of range, but this is only when they are on long 
distance flights. Usually they keep low and offer splendid marks. 
They only come south) in winter when severe weather (not cold) is 
prevalent, antj heavy falls of snow cover their feeding grounds in Mon- 
golia. I have seen them in large numbers on the Mongolian Plateau 
just north of Kalgan as late as the end of April, and singly or in pairs 
a little further north in the middle of summer. The furthest south I 
have seen them is on the Tai-yuan Fu plain (Lat. 37 degrees N.), 
though whether they ever get further south I could not say. 



The few times I have had a chance of shooting these birds, have 
been during journeys in North Shansi and Mongolia, when an occasional 
flock has passed by on whistling wings. I am told that a good way to 
hunt them is for three or four sportsmen to station themselves at wide 
intervals round the spot where a flock has been found feeding. The 
birds keep on circling round the spot, and so continually offer a mark 
to one or other of the guns. One party travelling in North Shansi in 
December 1912, reported great numbers of these birds, stating that they 
sometimes shot as many as thirty and forty brace a day. The last really 
extensive incursions of these birds into North China occurred in the 
winter of 1907-08. On that occasion local sportsmen were able to get 
good shooting simply by walking the birds up. The flesh is darker than 
that of the game birds. 


Under this heading we have a number of species belonging to several 
small orders, and the ornithologist must excuse my classing them 

THE CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo). 

The cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) occurs wild in North China. 
This bird is well known on account of its being used by the Chinese in 


the capture of fish. It belongs to the same family as the pelican, 
which latter bird does not, as far as I know, corne as far north as these 
districts. The cormorant is an eminently ungainly bird out of the 
water. It is an excellent diver, however, and when under water displays 
a wonderful grace. I once saw one being fed in a large glass tank in the 
London Zoo, and the way it darted about after the fish was a sight I 
shall never forget. In less time than it takes to write every one of the 
hundred or so little fish placed in the tank had disappeared down its 
hungry gullet. I have since seen them at work catching, fish in the 
Chihli lakes. Though of a black colour the feathers have a fine metal- 
lic sheen, which in conjunction with the brig>ht emerald green eye, 
light silvery crest and graceful beak, does much to redeem the awkwa v d 
appearance of the bkd. 

The cormorant builds its nest on low trees in marshy and watery 
districts, laying from three to six eggs. The young feed from their 
parents' crops by thrusting their heads down the gullets of the latter. 

The other aquatic birds, which we have not yet considered are 
the rails, coots, gulls and grebes. The rails are represented by a species 
known as Hallus indicus. This is an inconspicuous brown bird, about 
the size of a spring chicken. It skulks in the reeds and grasses of the 
marshy districts. lij is seldom seen as it hardly ever leaves cover. It 
has longi legs and toes, a short beak, and short tail. I ihave not come 
across the corncrake or landrail in North China, though in North Shansi 
I found a very much smaller variety of the water-rail type, which I have 
been unable to identify. 

The moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) and also the coot (Fulica atra) 
are both well known to the sportsman. The first is a small dark gr^y 
bird with long green legs and slightly lobed toes, and a red beak. There 
is a peculiar naked disk of flesh upon the forehead, being a continua- 
tion from the base of the beak. The coot is about twice the size of 
the moorhen, 'has plumage of the same colour, but the toes are very 
much more lobed. The beak and face-disk or shield are of fine ivory 
white. Both birds are very common in marshy districts, and breed 
in this, country. 

In the vicinity of Tientsin several species of gull are to be seen, 
which have found their ways up from the sea coast to feed in the marshes 
and lakes of the flat lands. Most conspicuous amongst these are the 
terns, one of which Sterna fluviatilis follows up the large rivers and 
may be found right in the interior. It, has a black head, grey back and 
white under parts, with a swallow tail. 


Besides this species, the black tern (S. l&ucoptera) has also been 
recorded, and I have often seen the lesser tern (S. sinensis). Then 
there are the common laughing gull (Lams ridibundus) the pink-legged 
herring gull (L. cachinans) and the thick-billed gull (L. crassirostris) 
specimens of 1 which I have recently secured in the vicinity of Tientsin. 

The albatross (Diomedea albatrus) has also been secured in Chinese 
Seas, and I have seen what I suspect of being the smaller sooty alba- 
tross (D. nigripes). 

Lastly we come to the grebes, of which the most uncommon is the 
great-crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus). The shape and build of this 
bird have become very much modified, so that it is pre-eminently 
adapted to swimming both on and under the surface of the ponds and 
lakes where it makes its home. The most striking feature is the head, 
which, with the hornlike tufts and broad fringe or beard, gives the bird 
a most grotesque appearance. On this account the Chinese call it 
" Lung tou " (Dragon head). Its wings are so small that' 
it is only by beating tihem very rapidly that it can fly. 
This difficulty in flying causes it to leave the water with 
great reluctance. When frightened it dives and swims under water 
for considerable distances. The feet are unique, having the appearance 
of a three-lobed leaf. The toes are so arranged as to fold up like the 
ribs of a fan as the foot is drawn up after each stroke, thus offering 
the minimum resistance to the water. 

Another species of grebe is to be found, namely the dabchick or 
little grebe (P. philippensis). This pretty little bird is to be found every- 
where, and when other birds have passed on northward it may still be 
seen disporting on the lake surfaces or busily searching for food amongst 
the reeds. Grebes, like the coots and moorhens, build their nests upon 
the surface of the waters, anchoring them to some staple object such as 
reeds or the half submerged limbs of trees. The mother, on going to 
feed, always covers up the eggs, when the nest is indistinguishable 
from any other mass of floating debris. A comparatively large brood of 
chicks is usually reared. 

A' third species also occurs. It is about the same size as the last, 
but the male is of a jet black colour, with white breast and a chestnut- 
tuft on either side of the head. Its scientific name is 
Podiceps ruficollis. 



As a rule reptiles in North China and the neighbouring countries 
are conspicuous by their absence. One may travel for days on end and 
see nothing more than an occasional lizard, even in country where 
insect and bird life is abundant, and where the collector may find 
his traps full every morning of interesting mammals. 

What, one asks, is the cause of this? Why have lizards and 
snakes failed to establish themselves in these countries in numbers, 
as they have done elsewhere? How is it that the desert areas of 
Mongolia, and the forested districts of Shansi, and the Western pro- 
vinces, do not show such a variety of reptiles as do other deserts and 
forests of the world? 

The answer to these questions may be found in a study of the 
climatic conditions. It is not altogether the lack of moisture, though 
this affects other branches of the cold blooded vertebrates, but it is 
more the severity of the winters that has so handicapped the reptilian 
fauna in its struggle for existence in these countries. 

Though it is a well established fact, that snakes and lizards can 
go long periods without food, there is yet a limit to their endurance 
in this line; nor do they seem so well adapted to undergo periods of 
suspended animation as are the Batrachians, (frogs, toads, newts, 
etc.). They might manage (in Manchuria they undoubtedly do) to 
survive a much longer period of suspended animation, were there more 
moisture, but the dryness of the North China and Mongolian winter 
is proverbial, and only a very few species have been able to survive 
the triple process of freezing, starvation and dessication. 

Very little work has been done on the reptiles of North China 
and the neighbouring countries, chiefly because this field of research 
offers such small results. It is probable, therefore, that there are 
still some undiscovered species, and it might yet pay some one to go 
into the subject. 

In the course of my various journeys I have come across only 
twelve distinct species belonging to the class Rcptilia. 

a 21 


Of these, seven are snakes, three are lizards and the remaining 
two are turtles. 

There is no questioning the fact that snakes are more instinctively 
dreaded and detested by human beings than any other class of ani- 
mals. One's fear of them is inherent, being one of the few original 
instincts which civilization and progress have failed to suppress. It 
is also remarkable, how strongly this instinct is developed in other 
orders of the mammalian kingdom. I once placed the dead body of 
a snake before a bear-cub, which I have in my possession. Being 
short sighted, the little fellow came up to smell the thing. At the 
first sniff he shot upwards and backwards as though on springs, snort- 
ing with fear. He could have had little, or no experience with 
snakes, being very young, and only just taken from his mother; yet 
there was planted in his breast a perfect horror of these reptiles, 
coupled with the instinctive knowledge of just how to avoid that dead- 
ly, blow, which should, in the ordinary course of events, have fol- 
lowed his blunder in smelling so dangerous a creature. 

So with man; his first instinct on seeing a snake is either to 
kill it or run. Even when one is thoroughly used to handling snakes, 
land has lost all fear of them, they still may cause a sudden panic 
when encountered unexpectedly, and one gives the same quick back- 
ward jump, as did the little bear. The reason for this, of course, is 
the death dealing nature of the serpent's bite, it's deadly accuracy of 
aim, and it's marvellous rapidity, all coupled with a treacherous lurk- 
ing nature, so difficult for animals and the bare-legged savage to guard 

Fortunately North China is almost free from poisonous snakes. 
Of the seven species, one only is venomous, and that one is extremely 
rare. This species is the Halys viper (Ancistrodon inter me dias), which 
may easily be recognised by the thickness of its body and its wicked 
looking short head and upturned nose. The genus is represented by 
a species in Siberia, another in the Himalayas, a third in Ceylon, and 
one in Manchuria. It is also represented by, several species in North 
America ; the well-known and deadly copperhead belonging to this 
genus. By holding a viper by the neck, so that it cannot turn and 
bite, and prising open the jaws, two enormous fangs are displayed, 
growing downward and backward from the upper jaw. These are the 
deadly weapons which cause it's kind to be so cordially hated by all 
living creatures. The Chinese viper is of a dull uniform grey, some- 
times with, and sometimes without any markings. A second species 
(A. blomhoffi) is found in Manchuria. It is of a pretty chestnut fawn, 
marked with buff and blue-grey lines and dots. Some are almost 

Plate XXVIII. 

A PAIR OF GREEN WATER- SNAKES (Tropidonotus tigriryus). 

THE CHINESE MUD-TURTLE (Trionyx sinensis). 



black. Neither of these species reach a great size, usually being 
about two feet in length. The Manchurian species is very common. 
I came across them frequently last summer, when I had a startling 
proof of the soundness of my rule in always treating a snake as a 
poisonous variety until I have examined its fangs and found it harm- 
less. For the first part of my stay in that country I came across 
only harmless black and brown snakes, with the result that I came to 
the conclusion titoat there were no poisonous kinds. Under this 
impression I frequently went about the woods with low shoes and no 
stockings, and sometimes even bare-footed. One day a snake darted 
out of the path ahead of me into the thick brush. Though exactly 
the colour of several harmless ones I had caught, it struck me as being 
unusually thick in the body, so that when I came across another a 
few minutes later, I caught it by putting the butt of my gun on its 
head and picked it up by the neck. Next moment I realized that I 
had a deadly viper in my hands, as I saw the ugly head, gaping jaws 
and poison fangs. Fortunately I had a little brass wire in my pocket, 
and I slipped a noose over the reptile's head and carried it back to 
camp. After that I always wore high boots or putties. 


The commonest snake in North China is the coluber (Coluber 
dione), a species which very much resembles the viper in appearance. 
It is found in Shansi, Shensi, Kansu, Mongolia, North and 
West Chihli and also in Manchuria. It varies considerably in colour, 


according to the nature of the country it inhabits. In the Ordos 
Desert and the loess country of Shensi, Kansu and Shansi it is of a 
light brown covered with markings of a darker colour. In the grass 
lands of Inner Mongolia it is of a grey brown. In the forests of 
Shansi and Manchuria it is even darker in colour, and the markings 
are almost obliterated. An examination of the mouth of this and 
other non-poisonous snakes, will show several rows of very small sharp 
teeth, pointing backward, and an entire absence of> anything like 

It is often stated that snakes cannot disgorge anything that they 
have once commenced to swallow, owing to the backward slant of 
their teeth. If this statement is true in regard to other species, it is 
certainly not the case with these non-poisonous snakes, for there are 
many instances of their disgorging their prey. 

The coluber reaches a length of from three: to three and a half 
feet. It lays a large white egg, with a flexible tough shell or skin. 
The young hatch out in about three weeks. 

In marshy districts in Chihli there is a very pretty snake marked 
with longitudinal lines down the whole length of its body. It is the 
snake commonly found round Tientsin. Whether it is what is known 
as the four rayed snake, and is referable to the genus Coluber, or whe- 
ther it represents the North American garter-snake, in which case it 
would go into our next genus, Tropidonotus, I am not in a position 
to say. 

The green or olive water snake (Tropidonotus tigrinus) is very 
common in North China, and is perhaps the most beautiful of the 
snakes of this country. It is of a bright sap-green colour above, with 
large vermilion patches extending in pairs from the head down either 
side of the body, growing smaller and finally vanishing as they reach 
the tail. It frequents river banks, streams and even marshes. It is 
perfectly harmless. 

In Manchuria, this genus is represented by a very large snake, 
the black water-snake, (Topidonotus vibakari), which is extremely 
abundant in the forest country. These snakes vary in colour, some 
being perfectly black above, with light yellow markings on the belly, 
others being black with brilliant light, yellow bands all over. The 
young are often of an olive brown colour, with white patches on the 
n-eck behind the head, so that they can hardly be distinguished from 
the common British species. They attain a great size, one specimen 
measured by me being 5 feet 1 inch, while the natives told me that 
they reach 10 feet in length, with the thickness of a man's arm. I 


have the part of a dried skin which measures four and a quarter inches 
in width. Allowing for shrinkage in drying, this would give a circum- 
ference of at least five inches, probably more. A specimen that 
measured four feet seven inches, had a circumference of three inches, 
so that the length of the snake from which my piece of skin was taken 
can be imagined. 

The seventh species (Zamenis spinalis) encountered in North 
China is a long whip-like snake, also harmless, which is found in Kan- 
eu. It is of an olive-brown colour with three white stripes down the 
body, and some white markings on the head. This snake also seems 
to be fond of watery places, but this is doubtless due to the fact that 
there is an abundance of small life in such localities, upon which 
they may feed. 

The next group of reptiles to be -considered is even more scantily 
represented than the snakes. There are only three species of lizard 
in North China and South Mongolia. How many there are in Man- 
[churia I could not say. I came across but one, which apparently 
was the dullard lizard, (Eremias argus) of North China and Mongolia. 
This belongs to the family Lacertidae, the true lizards, and is very 
much like the little lizard found in Great Britain. It varies 
greatly in colour and markings. It may be seen along the sides of a 
dusty road on the plains, amongst the rocks and bushes of the moun- 
tains, or in the sand dunes of the desert. Including the tfeil, it is 
about four inches in length, though longer specimens are often seen. 
It is extremely rapid in its movements and makes a pretty addition 
to the vivarium. Its food is beetles and other small insects. The 
Manchurian specimens seemed to me to possess longer tails, and to 
be of a larger size. Another species inhabiting Japan has a bright 
blue tail. 

The next species is tJie toad-headed lizard, (Phrynocephalus fron- 
talis) which inhabits the sandy areas of North Shansi, the Ordos Desert 
and westward. This pretty little creature is characterized,- as the name 
suggests, by a short toad-like head. It is of a sandy colour, mottled 
with darker markings. There is a bright mauve patch on each side 
just behind the arm-pit, while the under surface of the tail is ver- 
milion. These little creatures are very pugnacious, and, when fighting 
each other, lash their tails from side to side, or rapidly curl and uncurl 
them over their backs. They live in little shallow burrows, which 
they excavate themselves. Where they exist at all, they occur in 
great numbers. 

The last lizard to be considered is the gecko (Gecko japonica), 
which is doubtless familiar to the reader. Geckos inhabit the cracks 


and crannies in houses, caves and rocky cliffs. They can crawl about 
on flat perpendicular surfaces, each toe being supplied with a sucker, 
which will even cling readily to glass. Theyi are very plentiful in the 
houses of Tientsin and Peking. They live upon flies, mosquitoes, 
centipedes, scorpions and other vermin. Their bodies and heads are 
flat; they have very wide mouths and prominent eyes. They are of a 
dull grey colour, admirably adapted to concealment on rock or brick 
surfaces. They lay; large, perfectly white eggs, which being soft when 
first deposited, stick to the rock, subsequently hardening. The Chin- 
ese are very much afraid of these harmless little lizards, which they 
call Shieh hu, (scorpion tiger). They can be easily tamed, and without 
being placed in confinement will goon learn to come out of their 
hiding places daily to take milk or water. 

THE TERRAPIN (Clemmys japonica). 

Of the two turtles, or properly speaking, tortoises (the word turtle 
being used by zoologists to designate certain marine forms 1 in which 
the front feet are modified into flippers) found in North 
China, one, the terrapin (Clemmys japonica) does not seem 
to extend northward much beyond the valley of the Wei Ho 
in Shensi. At least ifc is only in that valley and in Anhui that 
I have found it. The terrapins are water tortoises, usually rather 
small, with flatter bodies than is usual with the land tortoises. They 
are vegetarian in diet. 

The mud-turtle or soft tortoise (Trionyx sinensis) is common in 
all the rivers of North China and Manchuria. This is a member of a 
group of tortoises, which are characterized by not having a horny shell 
as other tortoises and turtles do. They inhabit rivers exclusively and 
often attain a large size. They make excellent turtle soup. The 
Chinese mud -turtle is of a greeny-yellow above, lighter and more yellow 
beneath. It has a long upturned snout, sharp claws on both front 


and hind feet, which are also webbed. These turtles bite savagely 
and have to be handled with great care. They are carnivorous and 
may be caught on a hook and line with flesh bait and worms. I have 
frequently seen them sunning themselves on river banks and pro- 
jecting rocks. They are very alert and dive into the water at the 
least sign of danger. I have often shot at them, but have only twice 
succeeded in securing specimens when shot. Even these revived after 
a little while, and though full of pellets lived on until they were 
placed in alcohol. Perhaps there are no animals so tenacious of life 
as turtles and tortoises. A turtle's head will bite hours after it has 
been severed from the body. 



HITHERTO our studies of the animal life of North China have been 
confined almost, entirely to land forms. True we have discussed 
the aquatic birds, but after all these are in a sense inhabitants of the 
dry land, and spend most of their time on terra firma, only resorting 
to the waters in search of food. At other times many of them are 
engaged in long migratory flights, and so might almost be looked upon 
as aerial. Amongsit mammals the otter is the only species which could 
be called aquatic. 

What, then, of that wonderful world below the rippling surfaces 
amongst the weeds of China's many waters? What about those 
seemingly quiet depths, to a great extent beyond our ken, peopled with 
myriads of busy active creatures, whose lives are just as surely made 
up of joy, pain, love, courtship, war and tragedy as those of the 
more advanced forms of life in the upper-world? May we not in a 
small part enter into it, learn something of its denizens and so derive 
much of pleasure and instruction? 

It is to be regretted that, though there is plenty of water in this 
country, so much of it is of that yellow turbid nature that gives its 
name to the mightiest of our northern rivers. In con- 
sequence it loses to a great extent much of the charm and 
attractiveness that water usually has for us. One can scarcely imagine 
anybody getting enthusiastic about the sub-aquatic fauna that he 
might suspect of being- there, yet cannot see, as he stands on the 
bank of the Pei Ho and watches that muddy flow. Even in the canals, 
where the current is so slow that one would think nothing could be 
carried in suspension, the same all-pervading, infinitely minute part- 
icles, which trace back their origin to the Gobi Desert, are continually 
being stirred up by the passage of boats, till nothing below the wind- 
kissed surface is discernable. 


There are, however, a few sheets of clear water, where the weeds 
grow rank, and where an infinite variety of crustaceans, molluscs, in- 
sects and! the higher forms of life that prey upon them and each other 
may be seen and studied with ease. Such stretches occur in some 
of the marshes to the east of Pao-ting Fu and in the San-chia-tien 
Lake further lown the Ta-ching Ho. Sometimes also the flooded parts 
round this settlement are sufficiently clear to render them interesting, 
while many of the rivers towards their sources in the mountainous 
areas are beautifully transparent. 

The subject of this chapter, however, is not so much the lower 
forms of aquatic life, interesting though they may be, but rather 
a few of the higher forms, belonging to that great group, the cold- 
blooded vertebrates, but one branch of which (the reptiles) has as 
yet come under our notice. 

First, then, let us take the amphibeansi, or batrachians, as present 
day Zoologists prefer to call them : those remarkable creatures, whose 
lives begin in a sphere of jelly, laid by a solicitous parent in the cool 
depths of some pond or permanent stream, go through a period of fish- 
like existence, and finally, developing limbs, discard the fish-form 
for that of a dry land quadruped. Has the reader ever thought what 
a wonderful life history that is? It is more than a life-history, it is the 
history of a race. First the protoplasmal sphere, then the tiny noto- 
chord and first primitive muscles of the earliest type of fish, followed 
by a development of gills, eyes, viscera and other adjuncts of a higher 
piscine form. Next the growth of limbs, absorption of the gills and 
sealing of the gill slits, and at last the disappearance of the tail, the 
expansion of the mouth and the completely changed mode of life. 
In the growth of a few short weeks is illustrated the development 
and evolution, through countless cycles, of a highly specialized and 
distinct organism, to wit the common frog. 

Anyone, who has sufficient time to get a good sized bottle, and 
secure a pair of spawning frogs may witness the whole of this interesting 
process, and an instructive pastime it will prove. 

There is not a great variety of frogs in North China, very few dis- 
tinct species having been recorded. We have none of the little tree 
frogs and other peculiar kinds found in the tropics. The 
edible frog (Rana esculenta) is very common especially in the 
marshy districts. It is known to the Chinese as T'ien-chi (field 
chicken), doubtless on account of its edible qualities. It is sold in 
the markets of Tientsin at the rate of two for one cent, and cooked 
s 22 


rightly is hard to beat. The flesh of this creature has been des- 
cribed as a cross between that of a sole and a spring chicken. 

In colour the edible frog varies from a light cream-yellow to a 
dark green, the belly and under surface of the legs being lighter than 
the upper parts. There are usually two white stripes running from 
the back of the eye to the crutch. Just behind the eye is a disk, 
which, when the frog croaks, is blown out into a bladder. Like all 
frogs this species is a wonderful jumper. It spends most of its time 
in the water, coming to the surface to breath. Its food consists c/1 
all kinds of insects. 

The little brown frog (Rana japonica) is found in nearly all the 
mountain streams of the interior. Its colour also shows considerable 
variation, ranging from a light buff to a deep brown, sometimes almost 
black. In the darker specimens the under surface of the legs are 
often red in colour. This species has broad black bands extending 
from the tip of the nose along the sides of the head, encircling the 
bright golden eyes. 

Besides these two common members of the genus Rana, two others 
have been recorded, namely R. reinhardti and R. nigromaculata. The 
latter is common in the vicinity of Chin-wang-tao, and is of a brown 
and green colour spotted with black. 

In the mountain streams of Shantung occurs the fire-bellied frog 
(Bombinator igneus), an elegant little creature with the back and 
upper parts green, and the belly and under part brilliant orange-red. 
The latter are marked with black marblings. It is thus a beautiful 
addition to the aquarium. It is small in size, not exceeding, two 
inches in length. The skin is very rough, more like that of the toad. 

Of the true toads (Buf\o) there are only two species recorded. 
These are Radde's toad (Bufo raddei) and the common toad (B. 
vvlgaris). The first is a handsomely marked variety, not unlike the 
natterjack toad (B. calamita) of Europe. The female is more hand- 
somely coloured than the male, being of a light olive-buff colour marbled 
with; dark brown. The male is of a light greeny-brown, without marb- 
lings. It is very common in North Shensii and even in the Ordos Desert. 
During the dry season it burrows deep into the loess or sand, and so 
preserves itself from dessication. It spawns in the small rivers, moun- 
tain streams and lakes, but otherwise keeps away from water. 

The common toad, though found nearly all over the world, is far 
less common in North China than the foregoing species. It is of a dull 
earth -brown colour, and would be an ugly creature indeed were it aot 


for the wonderful gem-like eye. It is Shakespeare who has said, 

the toad, ugly and venomous, 

Wears yet a precious jewel in his head. 
referring doubtless to the creature's wonderful eye. 

To which, if either, of these species a very large toad that 1 have 
frequently come across belongs I do not know. This variety is 
remarkable both for its size and the great number and size of the 
worts upon its skin. 

EADDE'S TOAD (Bujo raddei). 

I have never yet come across anything like the newts or salaman- 
ders in North China, though some members of this group exist further 
youth, notably the giant salamander (Megatobatrachus maximus) of 
Central and West China, where it occurs in the mountain streams. 
This large and ugly creature was one of the numerous discoveries of 
Armand David, and it is very rare. Doubtless the same unfavour- 
able climatic conditions that seem to account for the poverty in the 
reptilian forms of life, also have an unfavourable effect upon the 

Turning from these semi-aquatic denizens of the swamps and 
rivers, we come to a much more richly represented group of cold blooded 


vertebrates, namely the fishes, though here again, especially in the 
interior, the dryness of the climate and the extremes of heat and .?old 
have severely handicapped certain forms in the struggle for existence. 

North China is very far indeed from being an angler's paradise, 
in fact it is doubtful if any Europeans out here go in for 1 angling to any 
extent. There is one ardent disciple of Walton, who spends some of 
his Saturday afternoons fly fishing on the ponds and canals round the 
Tientsin Race Course, and he tells 1 me he often has good sport. 
Another gentleman of similar tastes ordered out expensive sets of rods, 


tackle, hooks and flies for fishing on the Pao-ting Fu lakes, but when, 
some years later he made me a present of his entire outfit, its remark- 
ably new appearance told a significant tale. 

The reason for this sad state of affairs is not difficult to find, for 
not only are the rivers of North China notoriously muddy, and so un- 
suitable for angling as a fine art, but so keen is the struggle for liveli- 
hood amongst the teaming human population that every lake, canal 
and river is dredged and scoured for the fish it contains. A hundred 
and one different means of trapping and netting are resorted to by the 
natives. Nothing taken, no matter how small, is ever put back to 
grow; no variety, however worthless from a European's point of view 
is discarded. The wonder is that there are any fish at all, and the 
reader will not be surprised to learn that North China is comparatively 
poor in the variety of its finny population. 

Still there are a few species, which are worth considering, if only 
on account of their scarcity. The Mandarin fish (Siniperca chua-tsi), 
a species of perch or bass is abundant in the* rivers and lakes of North- 
eastern China. I have not come across it in the west. This hand- 
some fish seems to take the place out here of the common perch in 
England, though, as a matter of fact it more closely resembles the 
ruffe (Acesina) in appearance. It has very much the same shape, 
the head and nose being somewhat more pointed. A large fin extends 
down the back to the tail, being divided into two distinct portions. 
The anterior part is made up of twelve very strong sharp 
spines joined together by a membrane. The posterior part, which 
is really the hinder dorsal fin, is like an ordinary fin. The pelvic 
fins also are armed each with a strong, sharp spine, while the anal fin 
has three such weapons. The opercular, and preopercular gill plates 
are also armed with spines. When freshly cauight the fish sticks out all 
these spines, and by its rapid contortions can inflict deep and painful 
wounds. There seems to be some sort of poison in the spines, for the 
wounds thus sustained will cause the affected limb to swell up and ache 
badly. In tire cuisine this fish holds rank above all the other Chinese 

The miller's thumb (Coitus <gobio ?) is a small fresh, water fish nearly 
related to the gurnards, which, except in the absence of the finger-like 
rays of the pectoral fins, it closely resembles. It is an exceedingly 
ugly fish, with its heavy toad-like head, short thick body, large fins and 
dull brown colour. It- is also known as the bull-head. It is found in 


the rivers of Chihli and southward, but I have not come across it in the 
west. The same species occurs in Northern Asia and Europe, and is 
very common in Great Britain. 

Another little fresh water fish is the stickleback (Gastrosteus 
sinensis) recorded b.y David. I have never seen a specimen, but it is 
said to inhabit the waters of Chihli. Sticklebacks are noted for build- 
ing nests, in which to lay their eggs, guarding the latter against all 
invaders with a spirit and reckless daring one would hardly expect in 
so low a form of life. They make splendid additions to the aquarium, 
being probably more interesting, because having more character 
and more remarkable habits, than any other fish. The males are fierce 
fighters and ardent wooers. They tease, it would almost seem for the 
mere fun of the thing, the other inmates of the aquarium. In the mat- 
ing, season the males, at least in the common three spined species of 
British streams, are brightly coloured with crimson and blue. 

The serpent-head (Ophioccphalus argus) is a peculiar fish that 
occurs in great numbers in all the waters of Chihli. It derives its name 
from the marked resemblance of its head to that of a snake. This is 
very long in shape, with the eyes set well forward. The markings also 
add to the illusion. The body is long, with a fin extending along the 
whole length of the back, and another along the ventral surface, from 
behind the belly, which is well forward. The tail is rounded. The 
whole of the body is marked with bars and blotches of a dark olive-grey 
colour upon a lighter ground. The fins and tail are spotted. This fish 
can withstand periods of drought, when it burrows into the mud and 
apparently becomes torpid. It is also common in the Manchurian 
rivers, though it may be looked upon more as a swamp than a river 
fish. The flesh is coarse. The Chinese name is Hei-yu (Black fish). 

Related to the serpent-head is the beautiful little paradise-fish 
(Poly acanthus opercularis), which is supposed to be a cultivated variety 
of some hitherto undiscovered wild species. In South-east China 
several species inhabit the rivers. The domestic species is of a golden 
colour barred with red. It has greatly elongated dorsal and anal fins 
and tail. It is very easy to keep, and breeds freely. 

The wels (Silurus assotis) belonging to the catfish tribe is very 
common in the muddy waters of the North China rivers. It might 
well be called the mud-fish, were it, not that the name is already used to 
designate certain lung-fishes of South Africa and South America. The 
wels has a long, somewhat eel-like body, a large head with an enormous 
mouth. The latter has several pairs of long filamentous appendages 


growing from the jaws. The dorsal fin is very small, but the anal fin 
more than makes up for this by extending from just behind the belly 
right along the elongated body up to the tail-fin, to which it is joined. 

The eyes, placed on the upper surface of the broad, flat head are very 
small. There are no scales, in which particular, also, the fish bears 
resemblance to an eel. In colour it is of a dark olive-brown, the lower 


surface of the head and the belly being white or light yellow. It attains 
a length of two or more feet. The flesh, though of a somewhat muddy 
flavour, is tender and sweet, and in many places, beingr the only bone- 
less variety of any size, is greatly esteemed. The Chinese name is 

Another member of the cat-fish family (Pseudobagrus fulvidraco) is 
also to be found in these waters. It is much smaller than the wels, 
has a shorter body and a large dorsal fin, with a stout barbed spine in 
front. It is of a bright greeny yellow colour. The mouth is also 
smaller. Otherwise the two species are very similar. Both are easily 
caught on a line bated with a worm or piece of meat. 

All over the marshes of the flatlands a peculiar species of eel occurs. 
It has nothing in the way of fins, and so resembles a snake in appearance. 
Even the gills are not easily detected, being small and inconspicuous. 
It is of a dark brown colour covered with vermiculated markings of an 
even darker shade. It reaches a maximum length of three or four feet, 
and is very good eating. It is particularly plentiful in the marshes of 
the Wed Valley in Shensi. It is known to science as (Monopterus 

Another species of eel (Anguilla pekinensis) also occurs. It is like 
the European eel, from which it differs but slightly. 

One of the commonest fish of North China is the carp (Cyprinus 
carpio), which figures so largely in Chinese and Japanese art, and also 
on their menus. It occurs in the waters of all the rivers and lakes. This 
fish often attains a large size. It is particularly abundant in the Yellow 
River, where it is caught in large numbers in late autumn and kept in 
specially reserved tanks. When winter comes on the fish are taken 
out, and water poured over them. The water freezes, forming a coat 
of ice over the fish, in which condition they are transported to all parts 
of the northern provinces, and fetch good prices. The Chinese name 
is Li-yu. 

The small carp (Cyprinus canassius] does not reach so great a size 
as- the foregoing species, bu't nevertheless attains a weight of two or 
three pounds. This is the parent stock of the gold fish, from which the 
Chinese and Japanese have bred such finny marvels as the lung-yu 
(dragon-fish). The remarkable thing about these highly specialized fish 
is the rapidity with which they will revert back to the parent form, when 
left to propagate their kind in a natural state. On the other hand, 
the wild form, under certain favourable conditions, will develop the 
typical golden colour of the common gold fish. The wild form, though 


palatable, is of a muddy flavour. The Chinese name is Chi-yu. It is one 
of the few species that can exist in stagnant water, and is therefore 
frequently introduced into artificial ponds and lakes, where if it be 
well fed, it soon assumes a rich bronzy colour. 




Besides these two very common species there are a number of 
others belonging to the carp family (Cyprinidae), namely, the bream 
(Parabramis pekinensis) ', the roacb (Leuciscus curriculus}, two species 
of bleak (L. aethiops and L. idellus), the gudgeon (Pseudogobio 
rivularis), the culters (Culter recurviceps and C. erythropterus) and their 
allies Pseudoculter peltinensis, P. exiguus and Hemiculter leucisculus*,. 
The culters are peculiar fish with sharply upturned mouths and protrud- 
ing lower jaws. 


In the mountain streams, occurs a small fish related to the minnow 
(Phroxinus sp.). Where there are good permanent streams this species 
attains a length of six or seven inches. It is very good eating, when 
served up as white-bait, and in some places occurs in great numbers. 

Another inhabitant of the mountain streams is the little loach 
(Cobitis tinia). There can be no doubt that this fish can survive pro- 
tracted periods of drought, when all the mountain streams in which it 
lives dry up. How it does this is not known, but it probably buries 
itself deep down in the mud or sand and undergoes a process of 
suspended animation. Be that as it may, when the rains come, refil- 
ling the streams which have been perfectly dry for so long, this little 
fish appears almost immediately. 

THE LOACH (Cobitis tinia). 

Another species is the giant' loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus), 
which, however, is found more in the permanent streams, and also 
occurs in the large rivers and marshes. This is very much more eel- 
like than the smaller species. 

Though the pike (Esox) does not occur in Chinese waters, a species 
is very common in the streams and rivers of Manchuria, which find 
their way into* the sea on the east side of Corea. There it is known t'o 
the Chinese as "kou-yu" (dog fish). 


Elopicthys dauricus, a very large fish not unlike the salmon, 
occurs in the Yellow River, and in some of the larger rivers of Chihli, 


Mongolia and Manchuria. It reaches a weight of 30 Ibs. and upwards, 
and a length of over three feet. The flesh is very good, and in the Tien- 
tsin markets it is sold as salmon, for which it, makes a good substitute. 

A trout (Plecoglossus altivelis) is to be found in the streams of 
the Chin-wang-tao and Shan-hai-kuan districts; but such of the local 
piscators 1 as have tried the fishing have reported upon it unfavourably. 
It is the same species that- occurs in Japan. At least two species 
of trout inhabit the rivers of Eastern and Northern Manchuria, but 
whether they have been named by scientists I do not know. 

Lastly we have the sturgeon (Acipenser mantschniricus) , which 
occurs in the Yellow River and sometimes even in the smaller rivers 
of Chihli. 

The sturgeons, with the sharks are interesting as forming a con- 
necting link between the fish of the present geological epoch and those 
of past ages. They have heterocercal or partially forked tails, which 
is a characteristic of very primitive types of fish. There are no fossil 
remains of fishes with homocercal or completely forked tails, which is 
characteristic of the modern fishes such as all of the foregoing species. 

The sturgeon is found also in Manchuria, and in all the rivers of 
S ; beria and Russia, whence comes that famous delicacy Caviare, which 
is nothing more nor less than the spawn of this fish. 



















ammon 17, 






Anderson (Malcolm P.) 56,67,69, 















Apodemus 70, 71, 















asiaticus 25, 77, 









Atwood (Dr. P. H.) 












bedfordi 10, 34, 70, 80, 





David (P&re Armand) 



















canadensis 18, 



Canis 51, 55, 






causa 81, 






cansus 72, 







57, 58 

78, 79 

57, 72 

67, 68, 69 

57, 58 

80, 81 



70, 71 

77, 78 



MAMMALS. (continued.) 



Fenwick-Owen (Mr. 















Heude (P&re) 


Holcomb (Captain T.) 

Holmeberg (Mr. J.) 






































































Matschie (Prof.) 


McCoy (Mr. K. T.) 


















Miller (Dr. Gerrit S.) 























54, 55 

17, 18 

25, 26 

69, 70 
52, 78 
48, 49 

56, 81 



70, 72 
69, 70 
68, 81 

57, 58 

78, 79 




MAMMALS. (continued.) 











49, 50 






54, 55 











Nystrom (Professor E. 

T.) 2 






79, 80 






17, 18, 24 



















54, 55 

Smith (Dr. J. A. C.) 











17, 18 















72, 73 

















52, 78 
65, 74 
72, 73 



52, 58 

52, 74 


77, 78 

70, 73 

25, 26 

25, 26 
















MAMMAL s . (continued . ) 

Thomas (Mr.) 


























52, 74 









Wallace (Mr. H. F.) 

24, 26 



57, 58 

Warrington (Mr. F. W.) 

42, 69 





















































Amherst's (Lady) 










117, 119 






































132, 159 



BIBDS. (continued.) 
















































91, 9*J 


131, 136, 153 






















































181, 132 

do id es 



















97, 98 

























cor ax 


102, 124 






151. 152 






121, 158 














BIBDS. (continued.) 












































138, 160 












97, 132 

































Glare ola 














124, 125, 126 
126, 159 

91. 147 

147, 148 





BIEDS. (continued.) 





} Henicurus 















































132, 159 


88, 102, 138 

133, 135 

















































124, 125 

124, 125 




136, 147 


90, 147 







BIRDS. (continued.) 


ni gripes 












































130, 140, 147, 148, 156 
















Pringle (Mr. J. J.) 








160 Rallus 

141 Recurvirostra 

139 Reeves' 

85 re eve 8ii 

157 Hemiza 

136 Rhopophilus 

130 richardi 
134 Richard's 

131 riparia 
134, 136, 141, 153 risorius 

85 roseus 

97 rubirostris 

97, 98 rufa 

86 ruficollis 
141 rufiventris 

158 rupestris 
149 rustica 

97 rusticola 

97 Ruticilla 


89, 90 

86. 88 

90, 91 

118, 120 














138, 150, 160 


BIEDS. (continued.) 



tar da 



































sibirica 135, 

139, 142 



97, 98 


sinensis 91, 131, 136, 139, 

145, 160 
































vane gains 





124, 125 



















137, 138 

















91, 92 



90, 130 























anguillicaudatu s 


















Cy print dee 














173 Hemiculter 
179 heterocercal 
177 homocercal 

162 idellus 

176 intermedias 

165, 172, 174 japonica 

174 javanensis 

161 Lacertidae 

162 leucisGulus 
170, 171 Leuciscus 

























































sin en sis 




165, 166, 170 




172, 174 


176, 177 

170, 171 
170, 171 
169, 170 




174, 175 
166, 174 

190 INDEX. 



Siniperca 172, 173 Tropidonotus 164 

spinalis 165 

vibakari 164 

tigrinus 164 vulgaris 170 

tinia 178 

trionyx 166 Zatnenfs 165 









APR 30 


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